There have recently been a series of international media reports alleging that at many as one million Muslims, mostly from the Uyghur community are being held in Chinese internment camps. These are part of long-standing allegations that Uyghurs and other groups in the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have been subject to systematic “mass surveillance and detention” by the Chinese government.
This was initially targeted at so-called Uyghur ‘extremists’, although media reports have also claimed that individuals have been incarcerated simply for appearing to practice Islam.
The international magazine the Atlantic furthermore states that individuals in these camps—which authorities claim are merely “vocational schools” for “criminals” have been subjected to horrific treatment, including being “… forced to renounce Islam, criticise their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day….forced to eat pork and drink alcohol…as well as reports of torture and death.”
The report also states that Uyghurs who are sent for “re-education” have been treated as if their religious beliefs are some sort of mental illness that can only be cured through harsh treatment. These allegations are completely unacceptable if true, and is a crime against humanity.
The Chinese government must immediately release the individuals being held and cease its repressive activities in the XUAR. Moreover, it must commit to respecting religious and cultural freedom in the region as well as punish the perpetrators of human rights abuses.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had urged China to stop the practice immediately.
I urge the Malaysian government, ASEAN member states and other international organisations to pressure the Chinese government to ensure that the latter’s oppressive acts in Xinjiang cease.
This is simply yet another tragedy in Asia that we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
PAKATAN HARAPAN YOUTH LEADER
PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT YOUTH LEADER
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR SETIAWANGSA