“Vocational Education and Training Centers,” better known as Muslim concentration camps, have been in place in the Xinjiang region of western China since 2017 as a way for the Chinese government to control the local Muslim people.
Due to a leaked document, it is known that one million people are imprisoned, but it is estimated that the number is much closer to three million.
That’s nearly three million Kazakh, Uyghur, and Kygryz people imprisoned and tortured simply because of what they believe in. To China, these are educational centers for people who need a bit of help, but to anyone else, these are concentration camps.
Wearing a hijab. Having a long beard. Believing in Islam. 1.8 billion people around the world, including myself, possess at least one of these qualities. In America, the freedom to believe in any religion, provided by the First Amendment, has allowed me to practice Islam as I please, and no one can tell me otherwise.
But in China, that is not the case. Muslims have been forced into concentration camps for the last three years simply for following the religion.
In Islam, it is against the religion to eat any pig product, but in the camps, “observant Muslims were forced to eat pork” as a way to tear them away from the values of their religion, says Sayragul Sauytbay, a teacher who escaped from the concentration camps, who described her time there with explanations that would give any person nightmares.
She, along with 200 other Muslims in the camp, was forced “to witness gang rape by several police officers” in multiple instances. If they dared to look away, or showed disgust, they were taken away and never seen again.
Forced abortions, medical experiments, and labor camps have become the norm for Muslims as young as thirteen. The punishments last for three generations. According to a document attained by the New York Times, “authorities checked three generations of each detainee’s family.” If one person is imprisoned, then their kids, and kids after that are trapped in an endless cycle of torment.
These Muslim concentration camps rival those during the Holocaust.
Over the last three years, China has been doing their best to keep the concentration camps out of the media, and the problem is, they have been doing a good job at it.
Throughout China, people call these camps “educational camps.” Although they know what they really are, and fear them, if anyone asks, they are simply educational camps for people who need to be taught the right way of thinking.
When BBC investigators went to China to find evidence of the camps, every person they interviewed about them described it as a “re-education school.” One shopkeeper described the students in them to “have some problems with their thoughts.”
The propaganda used to depict the camps differs so much from the reality of it, that it is like saying the happiness a person feels when they hear a baby’s laughter is the same feeling as the heartbreak one feels when their child passes away. They’re nothing alike, and that’s the problem.
According to the BBC investigators, the reports of the camps have claimed the people there are “grateful students” who are “willingly submitting themselves to the coursework.” People are being tortured, and China’s government is making it seem like they’re taking an interesting class with a bit of extra homework.
People. These are people. A majority of them are good people. The only thing they did was follow a religion that promotes peace and kindness. The propaganda supporting the camps have been successful for too long, and the treatment of the people in them is downright inhumane.
People. These are people.