by Joel Gehrke | May 04, 2020 02:44 PM
Uighur Muslims held in Chinese Communist detention camps are being sent around the country to fill labor shortages, according to activists and local reports.
“It’s modern-day slavery,” World Uighur Congress President Dolkun Isa told the Washington Examiner. “They don’t have free movement. And this is another type of the camps.”
Chinese officials have detained at least 1 million Uighurs in Xinjiang province under the auspices of counterterrorism through “political reeducation.”
“The main purpose is that they eradicate, that they remove the national identity of the Uighur people,” he said. “But besides this, use the people as cheap laborers.”Recommended For YouAustralia takes lead in backing Trump on China as Europe dithers
Chinese officials are jump-starting a plan to distribute camp “graduates” throughout the country, according to local media, pursuant to a policy adopted last year that was delayed by the emergence of the new coronavirus in Hubei province. “The unemployment problem in Xinjiang must be resolved at all costs, despite the outbreak,” the South China Morning Post quoted a “Beijing-based source” as saying.
Isa, a recipient of the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Human Rights Award, derided the idea that Beijing was trying to help the Uighurs’ job prospects. He said that ethnic Chinese men were being brought to work in Xinjiang, adding that the new labor policy creates an opportunity to separate Uighur families. Chinese officials have been known to send parents to different factories or provinces. “And children, they take — the Chinese government — to the orphanages,” he said, citing recent conversations with Uighur students.
That policy would dovetail with the “Pair Up and Become Family” initiative that Chinese Communist officials launched in 2017, according to Radio Free Asia. The plan assigns Han Chinese men to households that have seen Uighur men sent away to the detention camps to “promote ethnic unity,” as officials describe it.
“This is mass rape,” Rushan Abbas, a Uighur activist based in the United States, told Australian media in December. “The government is offering money, housing, and jobs to Han people to come and marry Uighur people.”
The new labor policy will prioritize Uighurs whom the Chinese Communist Party regards as “excellent graduates” of the detention camps, according to the SCMP report. Their departures will make room for new detainees, Isa suggested, and help Beijing fill any labor shortages occurring as a result of the coronavirus.
“Some Chinese workers refuse to go back to work,” he said. “The Uighur cannot say no.”