Muslim Internment Camps in China


Caroline Korinke, Staff Writer

Currently, there is a human rights crisis unfolding in China. Over the past five years, hundreds of thousands of Uyghur (wee-GOOR) Muslims, an Islamic minority group centered in western China, have been forced into ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, a region in western China. Inhumane treatment ranging from religious persecution to forced labor and even torture has been reported in these camps. However, the Chinese government denies all accusations of maltreatment, calling the detention camps “vocational training centers” or “boarding schools” and insisting that nobody is being held against their will. Those who have been released from the camps usually say otherwise.

 Investigative journalists for The New York Times have interviewed several previous detainees and have uncovered the reason behind the internment camps. Uyghurs report they were forced to condemn their religion and pledge loyalty to the Communist Party of China at one of these camps. The Chinese government masks this indoctrination by claiming to only curb religious extremism and terrorism. 

Earlier this year, on July 10th, twenty-two United Nations ambassadors signed a letter condemning the Chinese government for violating human rights. Senior Ben Duong says that he thinks the internment camps are wrong because “it’s against their will.” The United States House of Representatives seems to agree. Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that a bill was passed that “requires the president to condemn abuses against Muslims and call for the closure of mass detention camps in the north-western region of Xinjiang.” Whether this bill causes new tensions to arise between China and the United States is yet to be seen. As China continues to deny what is happening in Xinjiang, various reports continue to expose the struggle between the Uyghur people and the Chinese government. Until then, the human rights crisis in Central Asia will continue to worsen.