SOURCE: New Zealand Herald
DATE: December 21, 2019
SNIP: Western coverage of one of China’s worst human rights abuses – the mass detainment of over a million Muslim Uighurs – has increased over the past year.
Satellite images revealed the Government destroying scores of traditional burial grounds belonging to Uighurs in northwest Xinjiang; drone footage revealed hundreds of blindfolded and shackled men being transferred to detention camps; and just last month, secret Chinese Government documents revealed how the regime was instructed to deal with the ethnic minority.
But lesser reported on is a disturbing policy implemented in the northwest region – a forced-living arrangement between Han Chinese men and Uighur women that’s been likened to “mass rape”.
The Government claims it’s designed to promote harmony between the different cultural groups. But activists tell a different story.
In November, various Western media outlets reported that Han Chinese men had been assigned to monitor the homes of Uighur women whose husbands had been detained in prison camps.
The reports came out after an anonymous Chinese official gave an interview with Radio Free Asia, confirming the program but denying there was anything sinister about it.
As part of the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme, Han Chinese men stay with and sleep in the same beds as Uighur women.
According to the Chinese Government, the programme is designed to “promote ethnic unity”.
But to Rushan Abbas, a Uighur activist whose family members have been detained in the Xinjiang camps for more than a year, it’s nothing more than systemised rape – part of the Government’s brutal ongoing crackdown against the country’s ethnic minority.
“This is mass rape,” she told news.com.au. “The Government is offering money, housing and jobs to Han people to come and marry Uighur people.
“Neither the girls nor their families can reject such a marriage because they will be viewed (by Chinese authorities) as Islamic extremists for not wanting to marry atheist Han Chinese. They have no choice but to marry them.
“(The Han Chinese) have been raping Uighur women in the name of marriage for years. It took more than a year for the media to pick that up.”
While the Chinese Government claims the program is about promoting unity, it also allows officials to keep a close eye on the Uighurs who have spent decades living under increased surveillance.
Human rights organisations have slammed the program, saying there is “no evidence that families can refuse such visits” and describing it as “deeply invasive forced assimilation practices”.
The camps in Xinijang are given various names in the media. Some refer to them as “mass internment camps”. Others call them “surveillance facilities”, “re-education camps” or simply “detention centres”.
But Ms Abbas repeatedly refers to them as “concentration camps” and warns if the Western world doesn’t intervene, the mass detention will turn into mass murder.
“Our children are unable to speak our language and understand our culture,” she said. “They are taken to state-run orphanages and are completely indoctrinated.
“I’m afraid this will turn into mass extermination. There’s nothing better to describe what’s happening in Xinjiang than concentration camps. What are we waiting for? Mass executions and gas chambers before we take action? What is it going to take to have the leaders of world communities – particularly Western democratic countries like Australia and New Zealand – to act? Executions? Is that what it’s going to come down to?”