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Danielle Garbulsky 

Since 2017, China has been building camps to imprison Uighur Muslims living in China. Until a few months ago there was no actual proof of any harm, and the Chinese government fiercely denied the existence of the camps. In 2020 images of these camps surrounded by barbed fences and watchtowers rose to the surface. However, the Chinese government still denied accusations, claiming the camps are “re-education centers.” When people refused to believe the camps were “re-educating,” China’s UK ambassador also dismissed the articles as “fake news.” 

The camps are not harmless and educational in any way, shape, or form. They have strict rules to prevent escape and an increase of punishment when a detainee is disobedient. The goal of these camps is to fully transform their “students.” Uighur Muslims are encouraged to follow Christian practices, such as making confession and giving up their Islamic faith or face harsh consequences. The abuse and torture do not stop outside of the centers; many Muslims all over China have been beaten for their religious beliefs and practices. Wearing a hijab and growing beards have been prohibited and mosques have been torn down in China. Muslims are religiously prohibited from consuming alcohol or pig, and they are being forced to eat pig and drink alcohol. Each day they are dehumanized and abused as their existence is threatened. 

Continuing the plan of genocide upon the Uighurs, China introduced a new “program,” where Chinese women are sent to live with Uighurs while their husbands are in camps. China claims it is a way to prompt “ethnic unity,”; meanwhile, the Uighur women activists are saying these men are committing “mass rape.” These men also share their political ideology and use this “program” as a way to keep tabs on the Uighurs. Overall, it is another way to get rid of the Uighurs and their culture and traditions. 

The Uighurs need aid from foreign countries. There is no direct way to help the Uighurs because of strict laws in China, but we must bring attention to the issue to pressure global and governmental action. Using resources such as social media, we can bring national recognition to the problem. If there is a large enough outcry, our government will have to act and can utilize foreign policy to pressure the Chinese government to stop their actions. There are petitions going around that can be signed and donations that can be made. Your voice can make a difference. Even though you may feel your voice isn’t powerful enough, it is. Your voice can educate others and inspire a group of voices. 


“Data leak reveals how China 'brainwashes' Uighurs in prison camps.” BBC News, 24 November 2019.

Ioanes, Ellen. “Rape, medical experiments, and forced abortions: One woman describes horrors of Xinjiang concentration camps.” Insider, October 22 2019.

Perper, Rosie. “'This is mass rape': Uighur activist condemns program said to pay Chinese men to sleep with Uighur women to promote 'ethnic unity.'” Insider, 24 December 2019.

Taras, Aisha. “Six Ways You Can Help Uyghur Muslims in China, Right Now.” Amaliah, 20 February 2021.

Wood, Bryan. “What is Happening with the Uighurs in China?” PBS News Hour.

What Is Going On with Uighur Muslims in China: Academics
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