Current Affairs Politics

The Truth About China’s Uyghur Genocide

The YouTube politics’ channel Bad Empanada has published a video examining some of the evidence supporting the charge that the People’s Republic of China is engaged in a massive, years-long project to assimilate – or eradicate – non-ethnic Chinese communities in the sprawling, fossil-fuel rich Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. As always, the channel presents a carefully researched and documented feature that is well worth your time if you have an interest – as you should – in the fate of the diverse population groups being targeted for effective ethnocide by the authorities in Beijing. Given the long historical shadow of cultural and linguistic destruction hanging over this country, where native speakers of the Irish language now number in the low tens of thousands out of an island-wide population of several million, it is an issue that should perhaps concern and outrage our political and activist classes a lot more than it does. Which maybe tells its own sorry tale.

22 comments on “The Truth About China’s Uyghur Genocide

  1. Horrified by the amount of leftists justifying china’s fascist regime because they use the Communist symbols and etymology when it’s clear they believe in neither and the same could be said for Assadist and Putin apologists like Mick Wallace.


    • Absolutely right. I used to be amazed how, when it came down to it, extremists supposedly occupying opposite ends of the spectrum could so easily make common ground with one another. But not any more. Horrific what is happening in China.


    • notimportant

      That’s one of many reasons I put zero stock in anything leftists say.

      Most of them in the US come from privilege and live privileged lives as gentrifiers.

      The fact that this has been made yet another political issue rather than a human rights issue to me shows the true colors of all who are involving themselves either to defend or only selectively condemn China. Right and left.

      I too find it amusing how so many who claim to be communists or socialists (despite living the most capitalist lives possible and even profiting off of their supposed support for actual class warriors and people doing real work) worship tyrannical dictators like Stalin and Mao and their countries that never actually stopped being imperialistic.

      Just shows you how completely uninformed and clueless they really are. Like LGBTQ groups who worship Che Guevara.


  2. If China wasn’t so powerful, the western powers would be up in arms about what is happening there, issuing threats and ultimatums and introducing meaningful sanctions. As it is, crickets.
    I don’t include France in the above, as it has no room to criticise anyone. Secularism, which I am an avid proponent of, has been taken to a ridiculous extreme there. To the point where it has become every bit what it was supposed to be a bulwark against – an oppressive state “religion”. Why don’t they just fuck off and let people worship who they want, and practice their religion how they want, whenever and wherever they want. What sensible person could care less about the kind of outfit a woman chooses to wear on the beach or when bathing in the sea? What business is it of anyone else if she chooses to wear an overcoat while paddling or swimming? Same goes for head coverings! What right has a state to dictate how a woman should or shouldn’t dress.
    Leave the people alone


    • notimportant

      Not to mention their continued actions in Africa and their strategy of Francafrique.


    • So France isn’t perfect? Of course not. However, I wouldn’t label it as a country that is just so horrible that it can’t be critical of anybody. It has its share of good qualities.

      AS for taking secularism too far? Sure. However that’s not unique to France. Mexico-a nation almost as Catholic Ireland was in the 1950’s although it’s never that simple and Mexicans you can say have a high tolerance for ambiguity- has a rule where the Mexican state never acknowledges church weddings, and only accepts vows from a judge as legally valid. Most Mexican couples get dress in a suit and tie for the husband and a business legal dress for the wife a week or two before having a big church wedding complete with a massive set of celebrations.

      As for countries that do things like ban hijabs? My first impulse was definitely that as much as I don’t like the custom that coercion wasn’t the answer. However, I learned from some French and Egyptian women that “freedom of choice” isn’t always so simple. Sometimes without the bans families and neighbors would force them to wear the veil-and in Egypt they had issues of men in heavy veils nseaking into women’s dorm rooms and dressing rooms.

      While I’m not wild about the policies China has in Uighur country, some of these bans on head coverings are a lot trickier than they look at first glance.


      • notimportant

        Are you not aware of what France is doing in Africa or something? Or their persecution of Muslims in France?

        Charlie Hebdo is a great example. That cartoon was offensive and borderline racist and only done to act like bullies for the sake of being bullies under the guise of “free speech”. That’s why France has no leg to stand on. They’re bombing Muslims in Africa and basically being a secret colonial power and then persecuting them when they come to France.

        Freedom means freedom for everybody, including Muslims and other religious groups.


      • I take it you know that the hijab is a simple head covering. Yet you deliberately conflate the wearing of it with “men in heavy veils” (in Egypt, no less) sneaking into women’s changing rooms. On that logic let’s ban smart phones, as many men closer to home are constantly using them for upskirting women and other such perverted practices. As for the “it’s actually for the women’s own good” argument in favour of banning. We’ll let the women decide that for themselves, shall we.

        And this afterthought from you about China, “While I’m not wild about the policies China has in Uighur country” 🤦🏻‍♂️. Careful now, in case you go overboard with your criticism of a genocide. Maybe if it were white Christians on the receiving end of it you’d feel a little stronger.


        • I am reminded of this reference to Halide Edib, an outstanding member of the Turkish nationalist resistance movement that came together after the First World War: “…she realised with sensible clearness how painfully and irrevocably there existed in Europe two separate standards of humanity”.
          Nowadays not only Europe.


          • Re hijabs, my mother former CofEngland, later RC, my gran and great gran, both CofIreland but originally CofE, wore headscarves as a norm well into the 1980s and sporadically after. Women wearing headscarves in Ireland and Britain would be usual during that period. I’m always amazed how that history has been forgotten even though even today women of a certain generation still wear them. I really wonder is that the hill to die on in respect of women’s rights under Islam. I agree that societal compulsion is a factor but I’ve met a fair few Islamic Irish women who struck me as well able to determine for themselves whether they would wear or not wear the hijab.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Absolutely right, WorldbyStorm. It’s only a couple of decades since most women in Ireland and Britain wouldn’t have been seen dead outside their home without a head-covering on – it was a headscarf every day but Sunday, when a hat would be worn.

              “ … I’ve met a fair few Islamic Irish women who struck me as well able to determine for themselves whether they would wear or not wear the hijab.”
              And I’ve met hundreds of Muslim women from outside of Ireland who are the same. At best, it’s patronising in the extreme on the part of those who imagine the opposite. At worst, it’s extremely disingenuous – whereby they take the worst examples of female oppression they can find in the Islamic world and present it as the norm in every Islamic society. It’s like representing the rantings of Ian Paisley as the views of every Christian. When, in reality, they only ever reflected the views of a minuscule number of Protestants never mind of Christianity as a whole.
              It may surprise some, and no doubt disappoint others, to learn that each Muslim society, within countries as well as across them, has its own distinct characteristics. This sort of thing tends to happen within humankind 😀.

              Liked by 1 person

              • +1 I was in Tunisia a while back and it was striking how unlike the caricature the place was. Yes, socially conservative – without question, but compare and contrast with say Ireland or Britain in the 50s and one is getting a sense of it. Of course there’s pluses and minuses, I knew Irish Iranians and they had a different experience again, but not an unmixed one, with again some great aspects and some not so great aspects to Tehran, a place by the by I’d love to visit.


            • I would be careful about conflating any hat or headscarf (or mantilla, or hat, or top hat or any number of things) with the whole hijab thing. If you look at the degree of covering that is in some cases mandated by the government, by other times by social expectation…’s not like a mantilla or the hats both men and women wore in the early 1900’s, or the headscarves favored by the recently widowed Lizzie #2.

              The idea of “Well it’s not just Muslims” may not be the slam dunk some people think. There are records of women being required to veil many centuries before Christianity or Islam existed. One Welsh academic argues that veiling was common in much of Ancient Greece. If anything it was much more blatant that veiling was intended to control, to enforce class distinctions, and establish that the public sphere proper as a place where women -especially the free and higher class ones- simply didn’t belong, before anyone tried to make a religious issue of it.

              As for when mandates are the answer to reversing centuries of female subordination and when they aren’t, I’ve learned over the years that it isn’t as simple a question as some people want it to be. My instinct at outset was to distinguish between something permanent like FGM and footbinding, and an article of clothing you can remove at any time. However, after having talked to some women from countries that have had some form of hijab ban and in some cases also hijab requirement at one time or another, I can’t see the issue as being quite as black and white as I once did.

              Obviously this does not include China’s policies but hey somebody did bring an excoriation of France into it.


              • Isn’t that a different issue – the question of the hijab or other clothing in Islamic states? I’d be talking specifically about Ireland, Europe, or those more liberal Islamic states such as Turkey, Tunisia, etc. Obviously where there is a state diktat about this that’s a different matter again. But I think a degree of latitude is reasonable in states where there is greater pluralism and people aren’t forced to cover up. Again, there’s social and familial compulsion, but in more pluralist contexts that is something that hopefully is mitigated (and of course such compulsions function in respect of fundamentalists of all religions and beliefs regardless of the broader society).


            • For one thing Pluralist Constitutions are unlikely to allow the kind of hijab bans you see in a France or Turkey where women in hijabs can’t work in the public sector. However most of these laicite countries picked that system not because a bunch of radical woke up with a random pet peeve about religious expression in public….mostly they are countries with particularly bad sectarian histories or that have active movements that not only want to impose Taliban like control but stand a real shot at getting a govt like the one in Iran..

              To give another example of how historical context can matter. Several US states have laws requiring people to show their faces in public and various ban hoods, sheets, head to toe coverings, white hoods, headgear with cattle horns and masks. You can probably see that these were not aimed at Muslim women at all who weren’t not even on the radar or the state legislatures who passed them. Indeed some of these laws were revised to accommodate masks early in the pandemic. These were aimed at the KKK. My point is that a lot of countries have had controversies around this sort of thing and Muslim women were often not the intended targets.

              One different but not wholly incomparable issue rolling down the pike for countries where it isn’t already here: vaccine passports.

              Of course, various systems of national and international vaccine verification come with many potential pitfalls in terms of abuse and privacy. There’s also the problem of how to accommodate the safety, privacy, and equal rights for people who legitimateky can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons. I’ve heard proposals for a blockchain system being used to verify cards from different systems including scanning physical and local/national cards (name identifying info, expiration date but no medical records!!) since many jurisdictions may make physical copies primary due to low electronic access or civil liberties..

              My grandparents spoke of times where having a scar on your arm from
              Smallpox vaccine was a passport to nightclubs, streetcars, trains and intercity buses. It was very privacy respecting in the sense that all they had to look at was your arm-they didn’t need to know anything else. How we can make that fly in our electronic times with no physical marks from Covid-19 vaccines is a dicier question

              Some say any requirement will impinge on freedom of choice, but frankly now it’s the virus that has forced people to live like women in some deeply patriarchal societies: almost completely sequestered at home unless absolute necessity makes that impossible.


              • Okay, to summarise:
                1) Stripped of the various deflections, conflations, and blind-alley diversions that she/he invariably employs in a debate to avoid stating something outright, Grace fully supports a hijab ban. The only solid reason she gave? Because some fucker in Egypt tried to sneak into a female public changing room kitted out in full Niqab/Burka attire (note NIQAB not HIJAB).
                2) Apparently, she’s “not wild” about China’s policy of genocide against the Uyghurs – but hey, shit happens.

                Myself and WorldbyStorm, if I read him/her right, are of the opinion:
                1) That no government should be compelling women either to wear or to not wear a head covering, it should be up to the individual to make her choice.
                2) As for the role societal and/or familial pressure plays in their choice, that’s certainly a factor but is impossible to gauge. But obviously a government’s attitude can be gauged, and, aside from the legal implications for individuals, this to a large extent sets an example to the populace.

                As something of an aside, regardless of the KKK and niqab/burka deflection/conflation etc, I’d be interested to know in which US states the wearing of a hijab is banned.


              • My own tuppence worth, no one should force a woman to wear a head or full body covering. Equally no one should force a woman not to wear a head of full body covering. The choice should be an individual one in a society where it is truly that.

                On the other hand, I’m in two minds when the question comes to children. Or more particularly schoolchildren. I’m very much of the opinion that there should be no private or faith schools, all schools should be state ones attended by all children, and should be religiously neutral. Indeed, should be absent any religion.

                In that I agree with the French. Just about. So headscarves and such like in schools? That I am unsure of and open to arguments either way.

                Liked by 1 person

        • You’re the one who tried to portray France as such a horrible country that they “couldn’t criticize” China over this.


          • Agree with you totally ASF that schools should be religiously neutral. Churches, Mosques, Synagogues etc are for the furtherance of religion, not schools. However, I believe the wearing of head coverings, crosses, crucifixes etc by pupils should not be banned. The school, as an institution, has every right to be religiously neutral (in fact, I would argue, it is duty bound to be so) but it has no right to expect its pupils to be, or pretend to be, religiously neutral. I am concerned that secularism does not become as fundamentalist, fanatical and, in its own way, as oppressive as that which it is seeking to displace.

            “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Nietzsche

            Liked by 1 person

  3. A recent Radio War Nerd podcast was looking at some of the evidence for the genocide.
    It was a bit haphazard but they made the point that one slightly dodgy US academic, Adrian Zenz, seems to be behind a huge amount of the evidence and he can be strongly linked to CIA programmes.
    John Dolan and Mark Ames, the hosts of the podcast, are definitely left-leaning but I don’t think they have any great grá for China.


  4. ASF that’s a pry radical positions compared to Ireland’s current situation. No private or religious schools at all.

    My thinking is that rather than getting rid of private or religious schooling altogether, it makes more sense to keep both secular and religious private regulated and in some level of conformity with the public system (record keeping, child vaccine documentation, health and safety, secular curricula, accommodations for disabled students, provisions for linguistic minorities etc.). I’d also like to see a situation where private school fees are not too high and a meaningful portion of the students are there on scholarship.

    That said different models of religious neutrality or pluralism are all messy in some way. In France, while public school have a standard of “laicite” that some people think borders on or even rises to intolerance, private Catholic schools get actually get the state to pay teacher salaries and some other things: the fees paid by parents are very low. The good thing about this is that it ensures public and private school have a fairly permeable relationship with both being fairly democratic. Another good thing is that minimizes the chance that some private school might start teaching a dodgy “alternative version of history”-well know for socially undesirable consequences.

    The negative side to this system is that it inevitably makes some religious group “more equal than others”.


    • It’s my personal preference I know and admittedly somewhat radical. But I view schools as the great leveller and education the great elevator. If done right. Promoting civic identity while erasing notions of privilege or class through universal and shared education. I think I discussed it here before in greater detail. An absolutely no to segregated schooling whether on grounds of faith or class.


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