Since last year, hundreds of thousands — and perhaps millions — of innocent Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region in northwest China have been unjustly arrested and imprisoned in what the Chinese government calls “political re-education camps.” Thousands have disappeared. There are credible reports of torture and death among the prisoners. The government says it is fighting “terrorism” and “religious extremism.” Uighurs say they are resisting a campaign to crush religious and cultural freedom in China. The international community has largely reacted with silence.
Horrific as they are, the camps constitute just one part of Beijing’s effort. The government has destroyed thousands of religious buildings. It has banned long beards and many Muslim names. People are forced to eat pork against their beliefs. The Chinese government’s persecution of innocents continues even after their death. Crematoria are being built to literally extinguish the Uighur funeral tradition, which insists on burials.