Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

U.S. Should Condemn China for Uigher Deaths

| by MPAC
The Muslim Public Affairs Council is calling on the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to condemn the persecution of religious minorities in China, and to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of the deaths of at least 156 ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese in recent days.

The tragic deaths took place on Sunday, when Uighers (a Muslim minority population in the eastern Chinese province of Xinjiang) held a peaceful demonstration to demand a government inquiry into an earlier violent conflict between Uighurs (the region's largest ethnic group) and the Han (the country's dominant group).

On Tuesday, media reports showed a chilling scene -- Han Chinese clutching meat cleavers, pipes and clubs as they marched down the streets of the Xinjiang capital looking for Uighurs.

The mistreatment of the Uighur population has been widely documented for decades. The Chinese government has conducted what many international observers call "cultural cleansing," by moving a huge number of Han migrants to the province, and creating policies that limit the use of the Uighur language, restrict religious practices and foster job discrimination.

In recent years, the Chinese government has been under heavy international fire for brutally suppressing Tibet's Buddhist population, while pointing a misdirected finger at the Dalai Lama for the unrest. So it's no surprise that today, the same government is busy pointing a misdirected finger at Rebiya Kadeer, president of the Uigur American Association, living in the United States for the tensions.

Since 9/11, China has openly exploited the U.S. war on terror, which has been evidenced by its frequent references to Uighur nationalists as "terrorists" and has repeatedly responded to demands for Uighur independence with human rights violations.