The below article was published by Breitbart, photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
The leadership of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, the democratic representative body for the occupied region China calls Xinjiang, told Breitbart News this week that Communist Party officials “humiliate” Muslims in the region by forcing them to eat pork or drink alcohol during Ramadan.
East Turkistan is home to the vast majority of the world’s ethnic Uyghur population, as well as significant percentages of other Muslim-majority groups such as the Kazakh and Kyrgyz people. China has controlled East Turkistan, formally as the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” since the aftermath of World War II. Extensive evidence documented by American officials, human rights groups, and Uyghur advocates indicates that China is currently engaging in genocide against Uyghur people and others who are not members of the Han ethnic group that dominates eastern China.
The Communist Party under Xi Jinping has established an extensive concentration camp system that, at its peak, is believed to have housed 3 million people in East Turkistan. Eyewitnesses and research groups, citing the government’s own advertising, have accused the Party of enslaving Uyghur prisoners and selling them to government-linked manufacturers.
The Muslim world began observing the holy month of Ramadan last week. During Ramadan, Muslims typically fast from dawn to dusk, then break the fast after the sun goes down in celebratory meals known as iftars. The Communist Party has considered fasting during Ramadan a “sign of extremism” for years and, the East Turkistan Government in Exile noted, has actively forced Muslims to eat during the day.
“Starting around 2012, the Chinese government began to prevent civil servants, government employees (including those who have retired) from partaking in Ramadan and other religious activities,” East Turkistan Vice President Abdulahat Nur told Breitbart News on Tuesday. “In recent years many Uyghurs have been sent to concentration camps simply because they previously engaged in so-called ‘illegal religious activities’ such as praying and fasting during Ramadan. Things have only gotten worse over the past decade.”
“Children obviously are not allowed to fast, in schools they are forced to eat and drink. In the streets, Chinese government officials and security forces can force Uyghurs to eat or drink to prove they aren’t fasting,” Nur explained. “In some of the more conservative areas in the south of East Turkistan, the Chinese government has even forced Uyghurs to drink alcohol and consume pork to not only prevent them from fasting but also to humiliate them during the holy month of Ramadan.”
The prime minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, Salih Hudayar, similarly confirmed the suppression of observing Ramadan in the region.
“Ramadan has essentially been banned for [the] majority of the Muslims in East Turkistan,” Hudayar explained to Breitbart News. “In fact, since the official launch of its campaign of genocide and mass internment in 2014, Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have not been able to partake in Ramadan.”
The practice of forcing Muslims to eat pork has been well-documented in East Turkistan’s concentration camps. Outside of the camps, evidence exists of pressure on Muslims who work for the government to eat at office canteens during the day to ensure non-compliance with the rules of Ramadan.
Last week, the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) announced that communist officials in some municipalities in East Turkistan have imposed a quota allowing only a small number of Muslims to observe Ramadan.
“Some neighborhood committees in Urumqi (in Chinese, Wulumuqi) and some village officials in Kashgar (Kashi) and Hotan (Hetian) prefectures have received notices that only 10-50 Muslims will be allowed to fast during Ramadan,” RFA reported, “which runs from April 1 to May 1, and that those who do so must register with authorities, according local administrators and police in Xinjiang.”
“This system is designed to avoid religion to have negative effects on children’s minds,” an anonymous “village administrator” told the outlet.
Granting permission to some families to fast appears to be a response to the global outcry against China for persecuting Muslims in East Turkistan. Last year, China addressed the complaints by staging fake celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, showing happy Uyghurs in “staged” performances at government-organized Eid events. Communist Party officials invited foreign diplomats to the event and insisted through its state media that the existence of the one event was proof that all the evidence against China for religious persecution was fabricated.
The reality, according to independent accounts, was much less tolerant.
“A decade ago, 4,000 to 5,000 people attended Friday prayers at the Id Kah Mosque in the historic Silk Road city of Kashgar,” the Associated Press observed in a report from the region last year. “Now only 800 to 900 do, said the mosque’s imam, Mamat Juma. He attributed the drop to a natural shift in values, not government policy, saying the younger generation wants to spend more time working than praying.”
The East Turkistan Government in Exile observed the anniversary of the 1990 Baren uprising, and subsequent massacre, with an event in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. The crackdown on Uyghurs opposing forced abortions 32 years ago served as a reminder that China has been imposing the genocidal policies now greatly expanded under Xi Jinping for decades.
“In the spring of 1990, Baren Township, near Kashgar, in Chinese Occupied East Turkistan, suffered under a reign of Chinese terror unlike any other,” Hudayar, the prime minister, said at the event. “As part of its decades-long campaign of colonization, forced assimilation, and population control, China’s government was forcing Uyghurs and other Turkic women to abort their babies.”
Local reports indicated that a wave of 250 forced abortions prompted peaceful protests that became an uprising, which prompted the killing of thousands of people at the hands of the Communist Party.
Hudayar denounced the silence of the global community regarding China’s genocide.
“There is a clear double standard on China’s ongoing genocide and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the prime minister observed. “While governments, businesses, and everyday people have rightfully supported the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russian invasion and occupation, they have wrongfully stood silent on China’s ongoing genocide, colonization, and occupation in East Turkistan.”