One Big Thing: How will the COVID-19 outbreak affect Uighurs?
Do you think action should be taken against China for its treatment of Uighurs?
What is it?
- With the spread of COVID-19, many concerns have been expressed about the Uighur population in Xinjiang – An ethnic group of Chinese Muslims living in former Eastern Turkmenistan and current northwest China. Since the beginning of the outbreak, several groups have documented the starvation and effective house arrest of millions of residing in Xinjiang.
- The Chinese government has also been accused of forcibly moving Uighurs across the country to keep factories open in the wake of COVID-19-driven worker shortages.
Why is it important?
- Currently, there are estimated to be over 1 million Uighurs unjustly imprisoned in state-run “reeducation camps”. Some experts have used a cruise ship as an example to illustrate the speed and deadliness of a COVID-19 outbreak in prison-like conditions.
- There has been an effort by the Chinese government to silence Uighurs living abroad who are willing to speak out. Often, Uighur activists’ families and friends who are still living in China face the repercussions of their work.
What can you do?
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