by Mehdi Hasan
IT WAS ON September 16, 2001, five days after the 9/11
attacks, that President George W. Bush declared his now-infamous "war on terrorism."
Other governments around the world followed suit -- but few matched the speed,
intensity, and sheer cynicism with which the autocrats in Beijing aligned themselves
with the Bush administration.
Dogged by protests and revolts from a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority called the Uighurs
in the vast and autonomous Central Asian border region of Xinjiang -- or East Turkestan,
as it is historically referred to by the Uighurs -- the Chinese spotted an opportunity.
In the weeks and months after 9/11, Beijing began submitting documents to the United
Nations alleging that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM -- a group that few
people had ever heard of, or could even confirm the existence of -- was a "major
component of the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden" and "an important part of
his terrorist forces." By September 2002, both the U.N. and the United States had listed
ETIM as a "terrorist organization" -- throwing the Uighurs under the geopolitical bus.
One. Million. People. There are around 11 million Uighurs living in Xinjiang, which
means that almost one in 10 of them has been detained.
Fast forward 17 years: On Friday, a panel of U.N. human rights experts said Uighurs in
Xinjiang were being treated as "enemies of the state" and announced that it had received
credible reports about the "arbitrary and mass detention of almost 1 million Uighurs" in
One. Million. People. It's an astonishingly high number. In the context of the Uighur
population as a whole, it's even more shocking: There are around 11 million Uighurs
living in Xinjiang, which means that almost one in 10 of them has been detained,
according to the U.N. How is this not anything other than one of the biggest, and most
underreported, human rights crises in the world today? . . .
Jian Junbo, "Ghost of Marx Haunts China's
Riots," Asia Times, July 8, 2009
[Media outlets from Reuters to The Intercept falsely claimed the UN had condemned China
for holding a million Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced allegations by
two independent commission members, US-funded outfits and a shadowy opposition
group.--Ben Norton and Ajit Singh, "No, the UN Did Not Report China Has 'Massive Internment Camps' for
Uighur Muslims," grayzoneproject.com, August 23, 2018
Tom Embury-Dennis, "China installing QR codes on
Uyghur Muslim homes as part of mass security crackdown," independent.co.uk,
September 11, 2018
"Xinjiang top official
defends Uighur 'internment camps'," bbc.com, October 16, 2018