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China's Treatment of the Uyghur Population

You may or may not have heard what is happening in China. China is being accused of mistreating the Uyghur population. The Uyghurs are a Muslim population living in China. There are approximately 12 million Uyghurs living in the region of Xianjiang. Their language is similar to Turkish and see themselves as ethnically and culturally closely related to Central Asian nations.


The United States has accused China of committing genocide against this population. There have been reports of China forcibly sterilizing Uyghur women in camps in order to suppress the population. Another allegation that has come about is that China is purposely separating Uyghur children from their families. China is claiming that the rumors are not true. However, they are not exactly denying the rumors by saying “the crackdown is necessary to prevent terrorism and root out Islamist extremism and the camps are an effective tool for re-educating inmates in its fight against terrorism” (BBC News). Not only is China controlling this population they are also infringing on freedom rights and therefore should be charged with violating religious freedom. BBC News continues to write that China believes this population is “waging a violent campaign for an independent state by plotting bombings, sabotage and civic unrest.”


China’s criminal justice system combines concepts of Marxism, Leninism, and Mao Zedong. China believes that in order to safeguard the system of the people’s democratic dictatorship, they must use criminal punishments. Article 28 of the Constitution states that “The State maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter-revolutionary activities; it penalizes acts that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal activities and punishes and reforms criminals.” China also has a different age requirement for bearing criminal responsibility. Minors under 14 are completely exempt and minors from 14-16 are partially exempt. The various sanctions include control, criminal detention, fixed term imprisonment, life imprisonment, and death penalty. China takes crime and its criminals very seriously and makes sure everyone is punished accordingly.


The Dutch Parliament (as well as Canada) has called China out for their treatment of Uyghurs and called it genocide as well. At least 1 million are being detained in camps while the Chinese Government denies any allegations and denies human rights abuses. Considering that their Constitution states that anyone must be penalized that “endangers public security and disrupts the socialist economy…” shows that China in fact is mistreating this population as they would consider them to be disrupting socialist economy and endangering public security. It is horrifying that this population is going through this and that they cannot live in peace and be able to practice their religion, culture, and keep traditions, without Chinese interference. Even talks of moving the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have begun due to the allegations. Hopefully more countries will stand with the U.S., Canada, and Dutch Parliament in stopping China from abusing the Uyghurs, violating religious freedom laws, and executing a genocide.


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