The reports of a massive political re-education campaign in the far western Chinese province of Xinjiang where the Muslim detainees are required to swear allegiance to the Communist Party and foreswearing the Muslim faith that they are told to repeat is “stupid.” Around a million Uighur Muslims are believed to be held up in the Chinese internment camps. Those who have gone through detention in what the Chinese government calls as “re-education camps” have disclosed that they were subjected to an indoctrination process that lasted for several months. During this, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticise Islamic beliefs and sing Communist propaganda songs for several hours. They were also force-fed alcohol and pork- which are forbidden among the Muslims.
Now, according to another report, it has come to light that spouses of several Pakistani men, mostly traders or businessmen, who had married women from the Uighur Muslim community in China have disappeared. They have been taken to the “education centres”. The Chinese have been accused of using these internment centres to drive away the detained Uighur Muslims from their faith. It is believed that the Chinese fear that an extremist and separatist movement will plague the far western province, Xinjiang on account of extremist elements within the Uighurs. In 2009, massive ethnic riots in the far western province had resulted in hundreds of deaths. After that, some Uighur radicals had reportedly carried out terror strikes.
The Chinese authorities are running this internment camps in the name of “re-education camps”. According to an excerpt from an official Communist Party audio recording, which was transmitted last year to Uighurs was transcribed by Radio Free Asia. It stated, “Members of the public who have been chosen for reeducation have been infected by an ideological illness. They have been infected with religious extremism and violent terrorist ideology, and therefore they must seek treatment from a hospital as an inpatient. … The religious extremist ideology is a type of poisonous medicine, which confuses the mind of the people. … If we do not eradicate religious extremism at its roots, the violent terrorist incidents will grow and spread all over like an incurable malignant tumor.” Therefore, China is virtually treating Islam as an ideological/ mental disorder. A senior Chinese official had spilled the beans while talking to a UN panel about the internment camps when he stated that there are, “no such things as reeducation centers.” Even though the government documents refer to them as re-education centres, in reality, they are just vocational schools for criminals. This goes on to show how China is equating Islam with an ideological disorder bordering on criminality. The atrocities carried out against the Uighur community are flummoxing and unimaginable.
What is particularly more shocking is the stoic silence that Pakistan has maintained on this serious issue. In fact, a Pakistani daily, Pakistan Today, showered appreciation on Chinese Premier Xi-Jinping with respect to his policies in the Xinjiang region. The newspaper report reads, “President Xi Jinping has tackled the threat with a two pronged strategy i.e. deal with the terrorists with an iron fist while eradicating the source of grievances by bringing prosperity, development and religious freedom to the Uighurs and other minorities.” It is hard to believe that Pakistan is supporting such blatant violation of human rights of the Uighur Muslims in China. Pakistan is the same Islamic theocracy that used to be a self-acclaimed protector and vocal supporter of Muslim interests throughout the world.
The way Pakistan got offended recently over cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed and its vocal protests against Salman Rushdie way back in 1989 goes on to explain how Pakistan was always an eloquent supporter of Muslim rights. Now, one needs to dissect why Pakistan has remained silent in the background of atrocities against the Uighurs in China. In fact, one of the Pakistani media outlets has even praised China for its policies in the Xinjiang province. It seems that out of its political and economic compulsions, Pakistan is unable to cry foul even in this case. The fact that Pakistan’s economy is in shambles is not hidden from anyone. Growing Chinese influence in Pakistan is also in public knowledge. Pakistan has failed to speak up for interests of Uighur Muslims shows that Pakistan is in the process of becoming a Chinese colony, only if it has not already become one.