An ethnic Uighur woman holding her child in a shop in Kashgar, in China’s far western Xinjiang province. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

While those in the West stare at their phones or fret about a few extra pounds gained over the holidays, there is torture and genocide taking place on a scale not seen since WWII. Very few stories about the Chinese treatment of the Uighur population in Xinjiang province have broken through Brexit and impeachment talk, but what has come to light is shocking.

Millions of people have been taken from their homes, and children taken from their families for re-education. In China, re-education means brainwashing, renouncing who you are and what you think and believe in, replacing it with loyalty to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping. Under the over-exploited banner of quelling possible unrest and domestic terrorism, the Chinese government has targeted the Uighurs because they are Muslim, have their own language, and have traditions that do not hold the Chinese government at the center of their worship. Through insidious use of technological surveillance as well as literally placing Han Chinese observers inside these people’s homes, the Uighurs are being destroyed.

What sickens me beyond the separation of children from their families is the systematic use of mass rape as both a method of control as well as to impregnate Uighur women with Chinese babies. In a perversely named program, “Pair Up and Become Family,” Chinese men are being sent to “sleep” with Uighur women while their husbands are in prison camps. They are trying to rape a new generation into being more subservient and more “Chinese.”

And what are Western governments doing? Nothing. What are Muslim majority countries doing? Nothing. Because they are afraid of China and their economic power. This is horrifying, but not surprising. As China has been buying up infrastructure and building public works in countries all over the world, indebting other countries in unmanageable ways, they have created a complicit and craven coterie of world leaders who turn a blind eye, and worse, support their efforts to “control” populations perceived as threatening.

It is beyond repugnant. We are supporting Chinese financial imperialism by standing by and condoning the rape, torture, and killing so we can buy cheap products of questionable quality. They are the culprits, but we are not innocent bystanders. The US Congress has passed a bill describing Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities as “gross violations” of human rights. But we have lost the moral high ground, as we allow thousands of children, separated from their parents at the Mexico border, sit in US detention camps. It is unbelievable, but moreover, cruel and inhumane.

-Ashley E. Remer
Head Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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