The Uighurs

The plight of the Uighur minority in China is something that I was peripherally aware of and kept meaning to look into more closely to find out exactly what was happening but never got around to it. Fortunately John Oliver had a program that dealt precisely with this issue.


  1. Tadas says

    There is also a very informative PBS Frontline episode about the Uyghur imprisonment titled China Undercover from April 2020. That is readily available for viewing on YouTube.

  2. jrkrideau says

    You might want to do a bit more investigation into the Xinjiang/Uighur situation. I have been following this on and off for the last year or so. It looks to me like John Oliver or his researchers have fallen for a lot of propaganda. He has gotten a number of things correct; he’s also fallen for a lot of propaganda.

    Xinjiang has a separatist party, the Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM), formerly known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) that for at least 30 years ago has been carrying out terrorist attacks in various parts of China. John seems to forgotten to mention that.

    In one attack in 2014, a small terrorist group killed 31 and wounded over 140 at the railway station in Kunming, Yunnan, which is way down by the Tai border. Reportedly they did ttis with knives and swords! Xi Jinping and the Chinese Gov’t seemed a bit upset.

    Members of the Turkistan Islamic Movement have been trained by those friendly people, ISIS and the rest of the mad jihadis in Syria and Iraq. Turkey seems to have been complicit in allowing or helping Uighurs to reach Syria. but then Turkey has been known to help a lot of volunteers to reach Syria and Iraq. There is speculation, that I would believe, that both Turkey and the USA are supporting the training and return of these people to Xinjiang to act as a destabilizing force against the Communist Party China

    There is a community of Uighurs in Istanbul, consisting, I believe, mainly of the family members of jihadis fighting in Syria or Iraq. I’ve seen suggestions that a number of ” witnesses” seen in various films and television shows may actually be coming from there, roughly the equivalent of the ambassador’s daughter from Kuwait who told those horrific stories about the babies and incubators. The Turkistan Islamic Movement has had connections with Ankara for many years, perhaps since before World War II.

    There definitely are camps. As far as I’ve been able to figure out there seems to be three kinds, one of them is a straightforward deprogramming camp to deal with potential or actual terrorists. We find these in a lot of countries.Those are the ones with the highest security. If any of those leaked documents are true, the strictest security statements probably relate to them.

    Next, there seems to be actual vocational training camps with an emphasis on practical skills and learning Mandarin. Learning Mandarin does not seem to be an attempt to wipe out the Turkic language. Mandarin is the lingua franca of China. If you don’t read, write, or speak Mandarin, you are at an extreme disadvantage in terms of education or work. These, reportedly, are voluntary, just how voluntary or how one is recruited I have no idea.

    If I have read things correctly there seems to be some kind of involuntary vocational training camps. I have no idea what they are but they don’t sound good. I suppose they could be dealing with petty criminals or something but I really don’t know.

    That figure of 1 million + Uighurs in camps does not come from a UN report. It seems to come from a single fundamentalist, Christian, American, Adrian Zenz, who seems to be determined to destroy the Communist Party of China and a US-funded group who based their estimate on a sample of 8 informants. (

    My feeling is that the number is nonsense. If you do the math, if there are 1 million prisoners at any given time, even if we assume 10,000 people per camp, which sounds unreasonably large, you’re going to need a hundred camps that are going to show up on satellite photos. I would not be surprised at the number is in the 150 to 200 thousand range at any one time.

    The point about Han Chinese moving into Xinjiang and causing resentment seems to be very true. This does not seem to be some kind of cultural genocide, Xinjiang is becoming an economic development area and the key transit point to the West for China’s belt and Road initiative. Beijing needs technically savey Manchurian speakers. I imagine cultural clashes and abrupt change could generate a lot of tension on both sides. This also could be something the Turkistan Islamic Movement could capitalize on too.

    The prejudice against Uighurs by some members of the Han majority could well be true but so what? All you have to do is wander around Beijing until you find a bigot or two. Strangely enough, there seems to be some Americans who think Mexicans are all rapists and murderers and will say so on national TV.

    I get the feeling that Beijing is being very heavy handed in dealing with terrorism and doubt that they have the same concepts of human rights one finds in the USA. On the other hand the Gov’t’s legitimacy rests to a large part on providing safety and prosperity to its citizens. Terrorist attacks across China and threats to the Bert and Road Initiative threaten both.

  3. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To jrkrideau
    What’s your point here? To excuse China’s behavior, collective punishment and genocide, because a small number are independence advocates and terrorists? It seems to me that you spent many words in defense of that sort of argument.

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