Uyghurs in China, an Alarming Situation


Mathias Mouriaux, staff writer

More than 1 million Uyghurs are living the most unimaginable forms of cruelty at the hands of the Chinese government. Uyghurs also sometimes spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, is a word used to designate a Turkic-speaking minority ethnic group mostly originating from and culturally affiliated with China (Central and East Asia.) The size of the Uyghur population is not precisely known and has been the subject of some dispute. But, according to the official figures released by Chinese authorities, the population of Uyghurs within the Xinjiang region is just over 12 million, comprising approximately half of the total regional population. 

The Uighurs and other mostly-Muslim Turkic minorities in China are being subjected to the most brutal forms of oppression and the Chinese government’s so-called “re-education camps” are holding over a million of them out of sight.” (Omar Suleiman)

The numbers of Uyghurs in these camps are not known but estimated between 1 and 3 million, which is between 8.33% and 25% of the total population of Uyghurs in China. 

To counter any criticism of its treatment of the Uighurs, China has employed a language of “de-radicalization” that has been normalized throughout the world by repressive governments to mask their own policies of death and destruction.

(Omar Suleiman)

Despite the world “de-radicalization” China’s government is using to defend their actions, what they are doing concerns obviously racist reasons and is against human rights. The goal of those camps is to destroy the Uyghur/Muslim culture and conform them to the Chinese culture. So far 36 countries have asked China to respect Uyghurs’ rights and the UN has made several calls to order but no real actions, so nothing changed. These people have to live under the constant fear to be deported, at any moment their family and can suddenly be taken from their own home, deported to a concentration camp, and forced to work from sunrise to sunset. These people have almost nothing to eat, no rights, and are considered slaves. Indeed, the dictionary defined slave as,“a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another and forced to provide unpaid labor. A person entirely under the domination of some influence or person”. So, according to the description, the Uyghurs detained can be identified as slaves because they are detained against their will, suffering atrocities against their will and force to work unpaid and against their will again. 


It is hard to realize that in a world more and more based on rights and cultures, that situations like it still exist. It is worse than being in a prison for doing no crimes, these people just believe in a different religion and find themselves slaved. What is happening right now is horrific and unbelievable, no one can truly understand what they are living. 

Moreover, the situation was already alarming before the pandemic and is even more since the pandemic. Indeed, journalists noticed that the Chinese government has been using even more of the Uyghurs’ labor since the Covid-19 pandemic. China’s government is using the global crisis to enslave even more this minority and make them suffer atrocities. At this point it would not be shocking to learn that the Chinese government also used them against their will to find a vaccine for the Covid-19 even if it’s not true, the Chinese government is so dehumanizing that it would be possible. 

Everybody should be aware of what is happening to the Uyghurs. Unfortunately, except for having compassion for what is happening, and alerting about the situation, there is not much more to do. Indeed the situation concerns a government scale, as citizens change what is happening is complicated, the only possibility is making people aware of the situation and mobilizing to make our government change something. 

If China wasn’t so important for our economy and the economy of countries all over the world, countries all over the world would have already done something. Nevertheless, rising against China may stop the commerce between us and halt a gigantic part of our economy. Moreover, China is one of the most powerful military countries, no one would take the risk to start a new world war.  

Fortunately, some actions have been made, for example, the U.S stopped importing cotton, textiles, tomatoes, and clothing from the Uyghurs region. This is a start but not enough, a lot of people are still not aware of what is happening and countries around the world should consider following the U.S.