Just look at the pain in that woman's face. It is a look that says, "I am scared. So scared. Scared and alone. Why are they taking a picture of me? What have I done wrong?"
She belongs, or perhaps belonged, to the Uyghur ethnic group, residing in the province of Xinjiang in western China. Her name is Hawagul Tewekkul and she is fifty years old if indeed she is still alive. She was forced to reside in a re-education centre (aka prison) along with thousands of other Uyghurs. By the way there are some 12.8 million Uyghurs in China.
It seems that the idea of these state re-education camps is to teach the inmates to become more Chinese, to reject Islam and to embrace all that is truly Chinese - including Mandarin and modern communism.
Methods employed include bullying, forced sterilisation, physical beatings, rape, sleep-deprivation, electrocution and chanting. Naturally the all-powerful Chinese government downplays the re-education programme, sometimes even denying that these centres exist but that is one big, fat lie.
Records of thousands of Uyghur people consigned to these re-education centres were compiled by the Xinjiang police force. These politically sensitive records should have remained entirely secret but they have successfully been hacked into and this morning the BBC published a well-researched and thorough online exposé - cleverly utilising the hacker's harvest.
Such a brilliant journalistic achievement. It must surely heap extra pressure on the Chinese to come clean about what they are doing to the Uyghur people and to stop repeating their tiresome lies.
Here in Sheffield our universities accommodate a few thousand Chinese students. Undoubtedly, they hail from wealthy families that have benefited hugely from China's economic miracle. But when I consider what their country has done and continues to do to the Uyghur minority, I wonder should those plane loads of students be here at all? Somehow it does not seem right - in spite of the money they obviously bring in.
I read that piece and saw that picture earlier this morning on the BBC app on my phone. I doubt it does little to discourage China from continuing to do what they are going to do. All it probably means is some poor fellow in charge of IT over there is going to be taken out back and shot along with the rest of his family. Hopefully the past catches up with the likes of China and Russia eventually.ReplyDelete
If only we could be certain that goodness and justice win out in the end. Shame that life is not always like a work of fiction complete with a nice happy ending.Delete
I read the article. Why are humans so cruel to each other? So afraid of each other? Makes me want to scream.ReplyDelete
I think that poor woman's face subtly sums up the horror.Delete
This is obviously a horrible situation and thank heavens it has come to light which may help. Or may not. I do not know. But it seems to me that allowing students from China to attend school in Sheffield where they are exposed to a very different and less restricted way of life can is a good thing. Is it not possible that this sort of education can lead to reform in China?ReplyDelete
I think about Putin's war and the consequences for Russia imposed by The West. How can we let a country victimise a large number of its citizens and suffer no sanctions?Delete
There are different sorts of sanctions. Economic, mostly. However, since America, at least, is so dependent on China, I'm not sure that's ever going to happen.Delete
Economics are often more powerful than moral scruples.Delete
Sad that in this day and age we can't just let people be themselves, and we torture them into changing.ReplyDelete
In the end you simply cannot crush the truth. It will come back to haunt you.Delete
I hate how we know and see so much but yet we are so powerless to change the situation. Ukraine, China..?ReplyDelete
I hope that the knowing and the seeing increases pressure upon the perpetrators.Delete
A western education and lifestyle for Chinese students is surely helpful in turning around human rights abuses in China...that's if they go home. At least in your country they will learn about what is happening to the Uyghur people.ReplyDelete
During World War II, should we have invited young Nazis to study in Britain?Delete
The Uyghur problem on the surface looks simple. After that nothing works.ReplyDelete
Simple victimisation and racism.Delete
China has a horrible reputation on human rights. Just a couple of days ago I received an email from Amnesty which drew attention to the increasing use of the death penalty in China, Vietnam and Myanmar.ReplyDelete
Australia has thousands of Chinese students, often spies or working for the CCP. Our goverment doesn't seem to care
That's because they bring money with them but who's money is it really?Delete
The plight of the Uyghurs has been well known for a long time. That the BBC has brought it to attention with the exposé you mention is recommendable. Still, the leaders of so many countries (including my own) consider China an important partner because of its huge impact on world economy. They know perfectly well of this and many other human rights issues in China, as well as how that nation's economic success has been achieved on the backs of so many extremely poor and mistreated folks. And yet they hesitate to address any of those issues, fearing the consequences for their own countries. That is understandable, but the world as a whole has been leaning back and watching far too long already.ReplyDelete
You are so right. That is partly why I applaud the damning nature of the BBC's comprehensive report. It shames those who are just leaning back.Delete
I read this article yesterday, and noticed that on occasions the camps were likened to concentration camps. It's horrifying to realise what these people are going through, and we are powerless to help them.ReplyDelete
Somehow I don't think that the Chinese Government care one iota about the free world's concerns for the Uyghur, or any other minorities within their borders. Their culture does not embrace compassion or tolerance - live and let live have no meaning for them. Once they have dealt with the current "problems", Taiwan and Hong Kong will also be "earmarked" for similar treatment.
I fear that the hopelessness you espouse is in fact well-placed.Delete
I have similar thoughts about all the Chinese here studying in Australia, don't they have Universities in China? And I'm appalled at other things too.ReplyDelete
It is a strange phenomenon - so many wealthy Chinese students gaining their higher education in western universities while presumably academically capable young people from poorer homes don't get a look in.Delete
I agree with Mrs moon. Surely seeing and experiencing a different way of life can be a good thing.ReplyDelete
Mans inhumanity to man never ceases to amaze me. For goodness sake, live and let live. We are all just trying to live.
We have punished Russia in many ways for what Putin has done in Ukraine. I am not at all sure we should be saying to China's wealthy elite, "Oh never mind about The Uyghurs, send your kids over here for their higher education! No problemo!"Delete
I haven't read the article yet but already know its contents. Years ago I read about Tibet and the brutal force used there. The Chinese state is implacable in its desire to control, there is no answer except the quiet march of change.ReplyDelete
When you read the BBC report you may be as impressed as I was by the powerful and comprehensive nature of the evidence.Delete
On the other hand, educating those students in a more tolerant environment might help them realize the injustices their own country perpetrates.ReplyDelete
There ought to come a point where you draw the line. How much can be tolerated?Delete
Of course I agree with you. You would think that the rest of the world would have learned from all the atrocities of the British Empire. At least we don't do things like that any more.ReplyDelete
I wonder what "The British Empire" really was. It benefited people near the top of the British economic pyramid but arguably the masses at the bottom did not get share in the great bonanza.Delete
The Industrial Revolution and The British Empire both of which brought huge riches to a relative few but without which we would not have the standard of living we have today. We have shared in the results of both.Delete
I am afraid that I do not see it that way but that's just my opinion.Delete