China has detained an estimated 1 to 2 million Uighur Muslims (pronounced WEE-guhr), and millions more live one step away from detention under the watchful eye of the Chinese Communist Party, Axios World editor David Lawler reports.
- Why it matters: It has been two years since the internment camps came to light internationally, and a series of reports from the region of Xinjiang have made vivid the scale of the abuses. Yet foreign governments and corporations are content to pretend it isn’t happening.
"If ... any other country in the world was found to be detaining over 1 million Muslims of a certain ethnicity, you can bet we’d be seeing an international outcry,” says Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.
- "There has been this almost childlike hope that as China gets wealthier and more secure, it would" adapt to international norms, Richardson says.
- Instead, China is using its economic clout and influence at the UN to undermine those norms.
China has long waged a campaign of "assimilation and cultural destruction" in Xinjiang. But under President Xi Jinping it has dramatically escalated.
- China used to deny the camps existed; it now claims they're voluntary and designed to root out extremism.
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