A US-based Uyghur activist has termed the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang as a “genocide” and said the ethnic community is not seen as “normal” by Beijing.
Nury Turkel, a leader of the Uyghur community in the United States said that the Uyghurs were witnessing the worst humanitarian crises in the world since the Holocaust.
“This is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The State Department rightly said this is the largest incarceration of any ethnic minority since the Holocaust,” said Turkel, a newly appointed member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Uyghurs are generally not seen as “normal” by Beijing and are selected to undergo “transformation”, the new term being used instead of “re-education”, in order to give up their culture and traditions and fully adopt the Chinese Communist ideology, said Turkel.
His remarks came after reports surfaced that a public washroom was constructed on the site of a demolished mosque in Atush of Xinjiang province.
Speaking about the persecution against the Uyghurs, Turkel stated that the “purposeful prevention of population growth” is one of the legal definitions of genocide.
“It is a genocide. I have not been home for more than 25 years,” remarked Turkel, who was born in one of the ‘re-education camps’ in 1970 during the height of the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution.
“In the last year, Uyghur population growth dropped by 24 per cent and in the previous three years by 84 per cent,” the activist said.
Turkel further said that Beijing is “deliberately preventing population growth” by placing half a million Uyghur children in state orphanages, forcing women to be sterilised and forcing them to marry men of another race.
“The Chinese government has a zero tolerance for people who appear and behave in a different manner”, he said.
Slamming Islamic countries for their duplicity by ignoring the fate of Muslims in China, Turkel said, “It is very disappointing that most of the Muslim countries not only did not take a position or publicly speak out. They have been praising the Chinese government.”
He also hit out at Germany, France and the United Kingdom for their lack of action.
“They lived through Nazi Germany, Hitler’s Europe and fascism. They know how this ends. We have seen this movie before,” the activist said.
The activist called on the United States to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 if there is no significant change in China’s stance and policy regarding Uyghurs.
“If the international community stays quiet, the Chinese government will succeed in destroying these proud people. If ‘Never Again’ means anything to anyone, they should speak up,” he said.