The Uyghurs are an ethnic Turkic Muslim minority living in the northwest region of Xinjiang, China. Roughly 11 million Uyghurs live in Western China and although Xinjiang has some degree of self-governance, the Uyghur people have been subjected to an intense surveillance campaign orchestrated by
the Chinese Communist Party.
The crackdown on Muslims in China has also reintroduced political education camps to “re-educate” Uyghurs who follow Islam. Nearly three million Uyghurs have gone through these camps, with one million currently being held. Islam is essentially being treated as a mental illness that needs to be eradicated, as a sort of conversion therapy. Thus, it is not limited to only convicted individuals, but to all Uyghurs and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Those accused have “politically incorrect ideas” and “strong religious views” that are not compatible with the ideals of the Communist Party. The government has forcibly cut off Uyghur men’s beard, banned the hijab, forced Muslims to drink alcohol and consume pork, and banned certain Muslim names for babies. Often times, Muslims are told to criticize themselves and their faith.
Currently, over two million Uyghurs have been sent to the camps and still more are subjected to pervasive ethnic discrimination. Uyghurs living outside of China fare no better; almost all are missing family members and there are reports of countries deporting Uyghur students.