Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group of the Islamic religion. They have traditionally inhabited a series of oases scattered across the Taklamakan Desert within the Tarim Basin. In the Chinese region of Xinjiang, Uyghurs, make up about 46% of the population and live in big numbers in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkey.
However, since 2014 the Chinese government has been taking actions to exterminate, suppress and convert them religiously. In 2019, the nationwide birth rates decreased by 4.2%, while in the region of Xinjiang they dropped by 24%, which seems terribly low in comparison, however, China has denied all allegations of forced sterilization and genocide. The Chinese Communist Party has pursued a policy trapping more than one million Muslims in secretive detention camps without any legal process. Meanwhile, cities are equipped with high technology surveillance systems. Uyghur students have been increasingly sent to residential schools far from their home communities where they cannot speak Uyghur, and schools have stopped using a bilingual approach, now teaching almost entirely in Mandarin.
The reasons for these violations of human rights can be summarised by the Chinese government’s obsession to remove every obstacle to its goals, down to the smallest one. Xinjiang is a central geographical region for the Belt and Road Initiative (a network of infrastructures to connect China with Europe and Asian countries), therefore every possible hassle must be removed. The few Uyghurs who fled to Pakistan are now suffering similar hardships to those who remained in China, for Pakistan is closely collaborating with the Silk Road project.
It is outrageous to still have so many racial prejudices in the twenty-first century, minorities should not be persecuted, nor should a whole people, be labelled as “terrorists”, and punished as such for the reckless acts of some psychos.