What is it like to be a Chinese Muslim

The Uyghur World Congress accuses: In China, the Uyghur ethnic group has been systematically imprisoned millions of times without charge. Haiyuer Kuerban, head of the Berlin office of the Uyghurs, reports on torture, rape, forced sterilization and forced labor.

DOMRADIO.DE: How is the situation in China coming to a head?

Haiyuer Kuerban (Head of the Berlin Office of the Uighur World Congress): I.I must remind you that the detention camp phenomenon is not a new phenomenon in China. It is also by no means an unknown political repression mechanism. Since its inception, the Chinese Communist Party has used this under various names and forms, primarily to make its political opponents of any kind more pliable or to eliminate them. According to the findings of international experts on this issue, we now know that China started building mass facilities in 2016 at the latest and has detained more than three million Uyghurs in more than 1,000 such facilities in a very short time without any legal proceedings or formal allegations.

Secret government documents and documents revealed in 2018 show that this unimaginable, large-scale wave of arrests and internments was by no means spontaneous policy, but was systematically and mercilessly ordered and carried out according to the personal order of Chinese President Xi Jinping, one with the unimaginably high number of people imprisoned ethnic people. There is systematic brainwashing, merciless torture, mistreatment, mass rape and forced sterilization of women as well as forced labor of prisoners: This state-sponsored mass imprisonment of an ethnic minority, the largest of our modern times, represents a clear genocide and is reminiscent of Nazi crimes against the Jews during World War II.

DOMRADIO.DE: What gives the Uighurs hope to deal with this situation?

Kuerban: Religion is the last bastion that the Uyghurs receive their strength and faith psychologically. This is not only the case with the Uyghurs. This is actually the case for every person who gets into existential danger, that religion serves as a place of refuge. Religions, in this case Islam, give the population the final strength to survive these tough times and problems that arise from the state-sponsored reprisals.

DOMRADIO.DE: Where could there be a way out? What needs to be done in society or in politics in this regard?

Kuerban: On the political level, we firmly believe that international politics, including German politics, can do something about human rights violations in China. Not least thanks to the assumption of the Council Presidency in the European Union, Germany has a great responsibility and also greater opportunities to achieve European unity and to act more consistently and responsibly against the massive human rights violations by the Chinese government.

DOMRADIO.DE: Can we stand up against injustice as individuals?

Kuerban: In any case: it can actually begin with everyday shopping. For example, on an individual level one can actually do a lot against this oppression, against the crimes against humanity. And that can actually start with daily shopping. We know from international reports that China has obliged the people in the internment camps to do forced labor, that everyday items in the internment camps were made through forced labor, not least clothing and electronic items. You can actually avoid buying such products and thereby send a small, strong signal that what happens against the people in the internment camps is not indifferent to the consumers.

The interview was conducted by Katharina Geiger.