As we navigate a world with corrupt governance, it is important that leaders never compromise on preserving human dignity. One sad reality is that this is not always the case. One example is Xinjiang; a region in China with a history of ethnic tension being sustained even now.
Half of Xinjiang’s population is comprised of Uyghur people. Uyghurs are Turkish-speaking Muslims from the central Asia region. These minorities are being backhandedly targeted within Xinjiang. In addition, draconic measures threaten the safety and privacy of the Uyghur people as they are regularly being persecuted.
Staged as an effort towards unity and re-education, the Uyghur imprisonment camps are being used for correction of the mildest offences. These camps are disguised as educational places meant to eradicate terrorist and extremist behaviors. However, they are an attempt to extinguish the culture, religion and even life of the Uyghur people. The motive behind these camps are questionable and are cause for extreme concern.
Women detained in these camps are subject to forced pregnancy checks, birth control use, sterilization, intrauterine device insertion and even forced into abortion. Xinjiang has the highest population of Uyghur people in China. However, the population growth rates have recently plummeted. “In Kashgar and Hotan, two of the prefectures that make up the Uighur heartland, combined natural population growth rates fell by 84 percent between 2015 and 2018”(3). According to this quote, growth rates are devastatingly low and continue to drop. In light of this, cultural genocide is the only answer to these unacceptable procedures.
Women and men are often sent to these correctional camps if they exceed the two-child policy, which regulates that a woman may only have two children. Women who were previously detained said that they were given injections causing interruptions or cessation to their menstrual cycle. One article found that “[i]n 2018, 80 percent of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang, despite the fact that the region only makes up 1.8 percent of the nation’s population” (1). The emphasis on family planning towards minorities appears as an unmistakable effort to reduce the population of Uyghur people.
Outside of these horrendous camps, Han Chinese cadres investigate the lives of Uyghur citizens. There is absolutely no privacy as they invade their homes for a lengthy amount of time, sharing their beds if necessary. In addition, there are surveillance cameras sprinkled heavily throughout the city and all residents are required to have a tracking app on their phone.
This information on the oppression of minorities in Xinjiang just scratches the surface. Citizens are living in blind and fearful acceptance in the hands of their leaders. This is especially tragic given that the conditions of living are simply inhumane and invasive. Women are stripped of their dignity when they are forced to give up their reproductive abilities and unwillingly experience abortion and sterilization. The right to be treated ethically should not be negotiated but should be guaranteed.