The possibility that communist authorities in China could kill Turkic Muslims en masse cannot be ruled out, leaders from a Uyghur group said during a panel discussion held at a Sydney university.
Leaders of the U.S.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) say the international community needs to effectively respond to the ongoing human rights crisis in China’s far-west Xinjiang region.
“It’s time for action, something horrific is occurring on our watch. The Uyghurs are broken,” Nury Turkel, chair of the board for the UHRP, said during at the discussion held at the University of Technology on December 5.
Turkel’s comments follow increasing evidence that more than a million Turkic Muslims — mostly Uyghurs — are being imprisoned in a vast system of reeducation camps across the region.
“We may see mass murder because only a handful of people have been getting out and sharing their stories,” he said.
“We are dealing with 10 percent of the Uyghur population being locked up in modern-day concentration camps for unknown reasons other than being Uyghur, other than them being in wrong countries in their travel history, or guilt by association or past writing, past humanitarian work, past music performance, past promotion of Uyghur cultural heritage. The list goes on,” he said.
“Nobody is safe from these camps.”
Watch this BBC News video from the BBC about the camps:
Louisa Greve, director for external affairs for the UHRP, agreed with Turkel’s grim assessment.
“We now know the Chinese government is not conducting normal business in the standards of the civilized world,” Greve said.
“Mass murder cannot be ruled out,” she said.
“We see many of the precursors of cultural and possibly physical genocide.”
Greve called on democratic nations, academics, and the private sector to take action.
“It’s time to end business as usual in dealing with a government that is carrying out this systematic atrocity,” she said.
She added that Uyghur communities outside of China are also being targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Repression from the CCP is “extending beyond the borders of China where Uyghurs, including my fellow panelists and some of the people in the audience, are receiving threats, coercion to infiltrate, or spy upon other members of the community,” she said.
Watch this Radio Free Asia video where ex-camp detainee Mihrigul Tursun gives testimony:
Nurgal Sawat, a Uyghur activist, told the event that every Uyghur family in Australia has been affected by what is going on in Xinjiang and that many of them have been threatened by the CCP.
“[Uyghur] people in Australia are living in constant anxiety,” she said.
“The issue is how do we free these over a million people? How are we going to shut down those camps, how [can] we eliminate [the] oppressive policies?” she asked.
Included among the CCP’s repressive policies are more than a million cadres staying at the homes of predominantly Muslim families and the setting up of mass collection of DNA and voice biometrics from individuals between the ages of 12 and 65.
Many Turkic Muslim families have been split apart and the children are being sent to state-run orphanages, which will turn them into Han Chinese.
The Chinese government says that such measures have been put in place to “safeguard social stability” and to “fight terrorism.” It first denied reports of the reeducation camps, but in the face of mounting evidence then called them vocational centers.
In the past several decades, there have been high levels of immigration from China’s Han majority to the province. The Han now make up nearly 40 percent of the province’s population of 19 million. Xinjiang is known as East Turkistan by the Uyghurs.
Watch this related video from China Uncensored: