China Buying Silence on Uyghur Atrocities

July 1, 2020

According to a recent investigation, the situation for Uyghur Muslims in China has worsened. The latest abuse to be inflicted on this beleaguered religious minority is forced sterilization, abortion, and contraception. The goal is clear: Chinese officials want to reduce the Uyghur population in China by whatever means necessary. The sad reality is that while the rest of the world has been focused on containing the coronavirus, Chinese communists appear to have ramped up the persecution of anyone the government perceives is a threat.

Yesterday, Commissioner Nury Turkel of the Uyghur Human Rights Project appeared on Washington Watch to explain this unfolding story. For those unfamiliar with the Uyghurs and their approach to family life, Turkel likened them to the millions of Americans who believe that families should receive children as a gift from God and who simply want the government to leave them alone. However, these values, grounded in their religious belief, are precisely the reason Chinese Communist Party wants to reduce, if not eliminate the Uyghurs population.

It is stunning to consider, but it is a fact that "forced abortion sterilization was part of the Uyghur life from the beginning," Turkel told me. While it was known that some Uyghur women in the past have been forced to take contraceptives, the extent of the oppressive persecution of this ethnic group is just now becoming more widely known. This is due in large part to the focus placed on religious freedom in general and the Uyghur population specifically by the Trump administration. The persecution includes the use of "concentration camps" for women who have had too many children, as decided by the Chinese government. Turkel was distraught by the psychological as well as physical harm these women are subject to by the mandates of the communist government. Additionally, it is true that if these women have more children than they are allowed, their children are taken from them. The goal of the Chinese Communist Party, as Turkel explained, is to "eradicate an entire ethnic group and the world is watching."

The situation of the Uyghurs in China is not a new matter, Turkel pointed out sadly, but it is a worsening one. "I grew up watching how brutal the communist regime has been to my people or the others in the last two years," Turkel explained, who was born in captivity with his mother, and spent time at a re-education camp during the Cultural Revolution. Turkel outlined his grievance that the "Chinese government has been using its diplomatic and economic influence around the world to buy out silence from countries, particularly in Europe." Upset with the silence of countries in Europe, Turkel applauded the degree to which the "Trump administration has been forceful" regarding the plight of the Uyghur people. Turkel urgently called upon America's other allies to "get on the right side of history," and not to subscribe to or even stay silent about Communist China which is "committing genocide in daylight."

When asked about what else Christians in America need to be aware of, Turkel pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party has another community on its radar: Chinese Christians. The Chinese Communist Party "perceives that Christians and Muslims in China have a loyal group of people that threatens the Communist Party's existence," Turkel explained. As a result of the perceived threat posed by religion, Chinese officials have grown more hostile to religious denominations and groups that challenge their claims of complete and total authority. Thus, the persecution of Christians and total lack of disregard for religious liberty by the Chinese government is rampant in China and steadily growing worse.

Though the situation for the Uyghurs and Christians in China is hostile, we should not give up. The way forward is to continue spotlighting these flagrant abuses of religious freedom and international human rights laws and demand the rest of the world hold China accountable. By doing this, we stand in solidarity with freedom loving people in China as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ.