ISSN 2330-717X

Islamic World Fails To Stand Up For Uyghurs – OpEd


The Uyghur Muslims  are the largest minority ethnic group in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang.China has been accused of committing crimes against  against the Uyghur population and other mostly-Muslim ethnic groups in the north-western region of Xinjiang.Xinjiang lies in the north-west of China and is the country’s largest region. In the early 20th Century, the Uyghurs declared independence  but it was brought under the complete control of China  in 1949.Like Tibet, it is autonomous in theory but in practice, both regions are strictly governed by the central government.


President Xi Jinping issued an order saying all religions in China should be Chinese in orientation, there have been further crackdowns. Campaigners say China is trying to eradicate Uyghur culture.

The leading HR groups Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have published reports accusing China of crimes against humanity. Several countries  have also accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang.China denies all allegations of HR abuses and claims its system of “re-education” camps are there to combat separatism and Islamist militancy in the region.The region has seen a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) into Xinjiang to dilute the Uyghur population  to change the demography patern as being done in Tibet.

There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang making up to near half the population.Xinjiang

is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).The Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. 

Xinjiang is a mostly desert region and produces about a fifth of the world’s cotton. The region is also rich in oil and natural gas and because of its proximity to Central Asia and Europe is seen by Beijing as an important trade link.


China is accused for : 

  • Several countries, including the US, Canada and the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide with the intent to destroy the Uyghurs, Muslim religious group.
  • Uyghurs in detention camps claimed to be ‘Re-education’ camps.
  • Targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices (UN HR report – 2018).
  • Destroying mosques and tombs. 
  • Forcible mass sterilising of women to suppress the Uyghur population.China has dismissed these claims.
  • Separating children from their families, and attempting to break the cultural traditions of the group.

In 2018, the BBC found through leaked documents known as the China Cables  that the ‘Re-education’ camps were  run as high security prisons, with strict discipline and punishments.People who have managed to escape the camps have reported physical, mental and sexual torture. Women have spoken of mass rape and sexual abuse.Xinjiang is now covered by a pervasive network of surveillance, including police, checkpoints, and cameras that scan everything!

China says the crackdown in Xinjiang is necessary to prevent terrorism and root out Islamist extremism and the camps are an effective tool for re-educating inmates in its fight against terrorism.It insists that Uyghur militants are waging a violent campaign for an independent state by plotting bombings, sabotage and civic unrest, but it is accused of exaggerating the threat in order to justify repression of the Uyghurs.

However, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) a grouping of 57 countries, has surprisingly been a mute spectator to the horrors perpetuated by the CCP on the Uighurs and Sinicisation of Xinjiang. Over 90 mainly South East Asian Muslim organisations have urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) “to break its silence and take a public stand against China’s ongoing genocidal campaign in East Turkestan(Xinjiang).”Most Muslim nations have failed to condemn China over its repression of Muslims in Xinjiang province. It is thought they are reluctant to do this because of China’s economic grip over them.

Pakistan has also been an ardent supporter of China in the United Nations.Imran Khan is an expert double speak on all issues especially on HRs within his own country, Kashmir and  Uighursl of China. “What we find very difficult to swallow in Pakistan is that while they (West) talk about Uighurs, they do not talk much in the West about Kashmir …has regularly called for international action against Islamophobia”  And gives Beijing a ‘Clean Chit’ on rampant HRs abuses and religious persecution of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Khan has  to toe the line with Pakistan’s “all weather friend” China for all the economic aid, loans and  and diplomatic support it is extending.Now the dream project China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) holds all reins of Pakistan with pressure  to ensure its success.PM Imran Khan while attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing has on the sidelines signed a new agreement with China to begin the second phase  of CPEC.

Pakistan has provided the Chinese a platform for further leaps  into South Asia.  Pakistan has become the fulcrun frontline state for China’s  South Asia policy and also provided entry into the warm waters of the Arabian Sea at Gwadar port. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of Xi Jinping had become the cornerstone of Chinese economic policy, coupled with the strategy of increasing its global footprint in Asia, Africa and Europe.

In an open letter addressed to OIC – The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has urged the OIC to take strict actions against China’s mass detention centres.The group accused the People’s Republic of China of neglecting the basic HRs of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities that are illegally held in several detention camps  in Xinjiang the western province of China. WUC further stressed that as Members of the OIC, who proclaim to be the “Collective voice of the Muslim world”, it would be unconscionable and in clear disregard of your own moral values and principles to close your eyes to the terrible fate of millions of your Muslim brothers and sisters. In Article 1 of the OIC’s Charter, you vow “to safeguard the rights, dignity and religious and cultural identity of Muslim communities and minorities in non-Member States”. We simply ask you to remain true to that commitment.

Providing for equality under law, the declaration states that everyone is entitled to equal rights and freedoms without discrimination of any kind. Peace and freedom cannot be ensured as long as fundamental human rights are violated. Similarly, there cannot be peace and stability as long as there is oppression and suppression. It is unfair to seek one’s own interests at the cost of other people’s rights. Truth cannot shine if we fail to accept truth or consider it illegal to tell the truth. Where will the idea of truth and reality be if we push the truth and facts under the carpet and allow illegal actions to triumph?    — 14th Dalai Lama               

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

One thought on “Islamic World Fails To Stand Up For Uyghurs – OpEd

  • February 8, 2022 at 2:45 am

    Unfortunately the Islamic world generally fail to stand up for Muslims. The Rohingya’s, Yemen and others have not been given the support by Muslims they deserve and require. Unless the perceived crime is committed by the West it is not a crime. The Prophet drawings got a louder outcry than children dying in Yemen. Camps for Rohingya refugees are problematic.
    Unless the Islamic Council starts taking itself seriously and voicing concerns for Muslims nothing would happen. China, Russia or any other country can do what they like to minorities.


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