Human rights abuses in the People’s Republic of China(PRC) are not news, but the Turkic people of Sinjiang (East Turkistan) seem to be the unrelenting target of repression. They are a minority in an area that is now in the PRC. The majority follow the Muslim faith. The Han dominated government has passed laws against the growing of beards and the wearing of veils but those laws are mild compared to much more repressive acts.
A central government policy to move ethnic Han Chinese into the region and a concerted effort to erase the history and religion of these survivors of the ancient Silk Road trading routes has caused a growing backlash. Increasing violence that marked recent events in the area has led to imprisonment and executions.
Some have fled their homeland to find relative safety in Turkey. It has become extremely difficult for men to leave Sinjiang legally. A man applying for a passport risks a jail sentence. While some only seek to live peacefully others are being recruited to fight with the terrorist group ISIL. There are estimates that as many as 300 men are currently with ISIL.
The government of the PRC seems bent on making the problems with integrating the Uyghurs peacefully into the country worse. Reports have come in that imams were forced to dance in a city square while holding Chinese flags. The embarrassment and humiliation of that is surely counterproductive.
Viciously prosecuting peaceful criticism, leaving virtually no room for religious or cultural freedom, and expanding an economic strategy in which Uighurs cannot compete equally with Han Chinese migrants is a recipe for increased violence. Human Rights watch
Human Rights Watch
Wall Street Journal
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