China intensifies crackdown on Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims


China has intensified a crackdown on Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims. There have been mass arrests and detentions ahead of this week’s 20th national congress of the Chinese Community Party (CCP).

Bitter Winter, a magazine covering human rights and religious liberty, says the dozens of detainees include religious figures and imams who had been arrested and released in the past years.

The crackdown comes while a new system of “political re-education” is being implemented. It involves detaining inmates for 15 days, releasing them and then detaining them again after 15 days.

Bitter Winter says at first, some Kazakh Muslims found the new system better than the previous one which saw the detainees would disappear for years. However, soon they discovered the new system was more disruptive.

“Farmers cannot normally attend to their fields. Small businesses go bankrupt. Loans are not paid. Periodical separations between husbands and wives lead to tensions and a soaring divorce rate,” the report said.

The Covid-19 lockdowns have exacerbated the problems. They even impoverish the families of those who are not “re-educated” in the detention camps, Bitter Winter reports.

As long as people have money, they can escape arrest and detention by bribing police, some Muslims say. If they don’t have money for bribes, they are forced into “re-education.”

Media reports and rights groups say the arrests in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province are the government’s response to Muslims who staged widespread protests slamming their religious leaders’s detention.

Uyghur sources say since 2014 more than 1,000 imams and other religious figures have been detained in Xinjiang.

The crackdown continues despite China facing global ire for its brutal persecution of the Turkic-origin-Uyghur and other minorities in the region.

Since 2014, the Communist regime has unleashed a systematic, genocidal pogrom to crush Muslim Uyghur and other minorities. This is the culmination of longstanding Chinese-Uyghur conflict amid an active insurgency, rights groups say.

It’s estimated one million Muslims, mostly Uyghurs, are detained in secretive detention camps in Xinjiang. They are subject to brutal oppression including forced sterilisation and forced birth control, rape, forced labour, torture, internment, brainwashing and killings.

Western nations have slammed the persecution of Uyghurs and termed it genocide.

Former UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, who visited China this year, released a report about the situation on 30 August. It accused China of committing “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which may amount to “crimes against humanity.”

In his 2020 book Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, Pope Francis mentioned “poor Uyghurs” as “persecuted people,” triggering a backlash from Chinese authorities.


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