Muslims in China: America's New Slave Labor

Muslims in China: America's New Slave Labor
Photo by Faseeh Fawaz / Unsplash
Randi Whipple | Michael O

It’s China’s dirty secret: many people dislike Muslims and they show it by putting them into camps – a lot of them.

According to BuzzFeed, the Chinese government has built over 260 high-security camps. Various Muslim minorities, including the Uyghurs and Kazakhs, are taken. Though the actual number isn’t known, it’s believed to be around the one-million mark currently being detained, according to various sources.

This all started back in 2013 and 2014, when there were terrorist attacks that Uyghur militants claimed responsibility for. The first was a car rushing through Tiananmen Square in a suicide attack that killed five people. An additional 38 people were injured in the attack. The second attack in 2014 was at Kunming Station, where knife wielding terrorists attacked passengers, killing 31 and injuring 140 more. This led to a backlash from the Chinese government that banned the growth of beards in men and the wearing of veils in women in 2017 – the year they began to build more permanent centers.

The conditions these prisoners were forced to endure, according to sources who have been freed, have been cited as a human rights violation by more than 300 organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and International Service for Human Rights, who requested a probe be done by the UN in an open letter this last September. Not only are they detaining the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, they’re putting them to work in slave labor factories, where they work for companies such as Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola, who were lobbying hard against the recent bill H.R. 6210 or Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

The bill basically restricted the goods coming from plants that used slave labor from coming into the United States, and Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola said that might disrupt supply chains. This looked to some like these companies admitting that they used these labor outlets for their own personal gain, which would be a shocking admission. Not only are these detainees being forced to work, but they’re being subjected to Chinese propaganda, forced to speak Chinese, forcing women to take birth control or to have abortions, and enduring other forms of torture.

In John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, he mentions that US President Donald Trump expressed to China’s president Xi Jinping that he agreed with the concentration camps, that he should keep building them, and that he thought they were a good idea. President-elect Joe Biden has taken a stronger stance on China, going as far as to speak out against the president himself. How will this manifest in the new presidency? Will the UN investigate claims going forward with the urging of the United States backing it?

Here are some ways you can help, thanks to the Uyghur Human Rights Project: