China's inhuman treatment of Uyghur Muslims must stop

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid


LETTER | We register our strongest condemnation at the detention of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese authorities.

The recent footage of hundreds of blindfolded and shackled prisoners in the mostly Muslim region of China is pathetic. There seems to be no humanity by the Chinese government at its treatment of the detainees.

How can the Chinese government hold one million people, mostly ethnic Uyghurs, against their will in the so-called vocational schools? There is ample evidence of the centres being used as concentration camps.

The ill-treatment of the men at a station in the city of Korla in Xinjiang is sub-human.

The footage shows up to 600 prisoners being moved, shackled together, heads shaved, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs.

United Nations experts have spoken of "credible reports" of China holding one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities at mass detention camps in Xinjiang.

Beijing has in the past repeatedly denied all allegations of abuse against the Uighur community and other ethnic minority groups in China, insisting that the alleged detention sites are "vocational" centres aimed at training and developing skills.

China will ultimately have to admit that its dealing with religious minorities by incarcerating them will not succeed in its efforts to curb so-called terrorism.

We urge that the issue of the ill-treatment of the Uighurs be highlighted during the United Nations General Assembly next week when world leaders gather in New York.

We call on UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres to express his serious concern to the Chinese government over its detention of more than a million Muslims in the Xinjiang region and urge for the immediate closure of all the detention camps.

China's internment of the Uighurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups cannot be allowed to persist.

We call on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries not to be silent in the face of the injustice perpetrated on the Muslims in China. The worsening situation calls for an urgent response from the Muslim nations.

China's attempt to come up with its own counter narrative will not succeed. It cannot deny the facts on the ground. Testimonies of human rights violations are overwhelming and China cannot deceive the world forever.

Luring Muslim nations with trade must not obscure the fact that the suppression of Muslim minorities is a reality, and every Muslim leader will be held accountable if they fail to protect the rights of the Muslims in China.

Religious and cultural oppression and the genocide of Muslim minorities cannot be countenanced and the Chinese government must be taken to task for its policies of religious intolerance.

We have to state that the Chinese communist policy of rejecting religion is no longer viable when the world is promoting religious co-existence and freedom.

We call on the Malaysian government to take the initiative to mediate for a solution to the ongoing religious suppression in China.

China must be convinced of the need to understand that its continued oppression against the Uyghurs will not augur well with the world Muslim communities whose religious bond with the Uyghurs transcends borders.

China should not imitate the western powers of conveniently targetting Muslims as terrorists and implementing an Islmophobic policy.

If China wants to embrace Muslim nations as its partners for economic growth, its ill-treatment of the Muslims must stop.

We urge Malaysian human rights organisations to support the Uyghur Muslims and all the suppressed minorities in China.

We also call on all Malaysian parliamentarians to support the Uyghur struggle for self- determination by tabling a motion in Parliament to register our stand and our demand that China releases all the detainees.

All the muftis in Malaysia should also voice their concerns over the plight of the Uyghur Muslims and demand that the Chinese government end their anti-religious policy.

The muftis must condemn the oppression of the Muslims in China as it denigrates the sanctity of Islam: banning Islamic symbols including the halal logo, closing and destroying mosques, disallowing religious education, harassing Muslim religious teachers and obstructing religious practices even in private homes.

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid is president of Malaysian Islamic Organisation of Consultative Council (Mapim).

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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