Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

Asia's Tech News Daily

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

Concern about China’s treatment of the Uighur ethnic minority in the country’s vast northwestern region has been building for several years now.

Of particular condemnation is Beijing’s mass imprisonment of an estimated 1.5 million people, with many allegedly subjected to barbaric acts including forced organ harvesting and sterilisation.

The Communist Party has been accused of working towards the eventual elimination of the Uighur people from their historic ancestral homeland of Xinjiang.

But more recently, it’s been revealed that China also benefits financially from what humanitarian groups and a growing list of countries describe as clear genocide.

And the monetary benefit is absolutely enormous.

Industrial scale ethnic cleansing

For several years, the Communist Party’s activities in Xinjiang have sparked outcry from human rights groups and non-government organisations.

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

View from an aerial drone of blindfolded and shackled men outside a camp in China. Photo / YouTube

Uighurs in the region are subjected to intense surveillance, with a massive network of CCTV cameras reportedly monitoring their every move.

They’re forbidden from leaving the area and have limits placed on how far they can travel from their homes.

Thousands of mosques and other culturally significant landmarks belonging to the predominantly Muslim Uighur people have been destroyed – reportedly levelled without warning by government officials.

But most alarmingly, an almost incomprehensible number of Uighurs have been dragged from their homes or taken off the streets, bundled into trucks and sent to ‘re-education centres’.

That’s what Beijing calls them – sprawling prison camps behind tall razor-wire fences, guarded by heavily armed soldiers.

Some are kept there for several months, forced to take “vocational training” in Mandarin, Chinese culture and etiquette.

Many others never re-emerge, leaving their terrified loved ones to grieve in silence.

Eyewitness accounts, secretly captured vision and photographs, independent investigations and foreign intelligence paint a picture of terror and torture.

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

Uyghurstan is in the south of China's far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo / Stuart Munro

Inmates at hundreds of these camps dotted across Xinjiang are often subjected to beatings and other violent interrogation techniques to obtain false confessions to justify their detention.

There have been accusations of women being sterilised to prevent pregnancy on a mass scale – seen by human rights groups as an attempt at brutal population control.

In London in 2019, the China Tribunal convened to hear countless reports of forced organ harvesting, including on live patients, to service the multi-billion dollar black market trade.

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) also revealed “the mass transfer of Uighur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country”.

Conditions there strongly suggested forced labour, the report concluded, with Uighurs forced to work in factories that are “in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors”.

A very profitable persecution

Those elements of Beijing’s attempts to crush the Uighur population – carefully co-ordinated slave labour and the harvesting of organs – can reap huge financial rewards.

The ASPI report estimates some 80,000 Uighurs were trafficked from Xinjiang to factories across China between 2017 and 2019.

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Among the barbaric prison camp allegations levelled at Beijing are forced sterilisation of women, beatings and torture, organ harvesting and slave labour. Photo / AP

“In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours, are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances,” the report said.

And they’re poorly paid, if paid at all, advocacy groups claim. Their forced labour makes factories – owned by the Communist Party either directly or indirectly – a tidy sum.

China’s black market organ trade is estimated to be worth at least US$1 billion a year.

The 2019 China Tribunal heard the number of organ transplants conducted in China annually is about 60,000 – significantly more than donor schemes are able to service.

A map of hospitals in China that carry out organ transplants shows they are in proximity to known detention centres.

The number of operations performed, the incredibly short waiting lists for recipients and the expansion of facilities demonstrated “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale”, the report said.

Black market organs sell for a significant amount, with a healthy liver fetching around $160,000.

But the amount of money the Communist Party is raking in goes much further than that.

An investigation published in Taiwan News claimed Chinese officials have seized vast assets owned by Uighurs over the past few years, selling them off for an estimated US$84 billion.

Real estate comprised the majority of those stolen assets, the outlet reported.

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

A security person watches from a guard tower around a detention facility in Yarkent County in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo / AP

One victim was Abdujelil Helil, who was a wealthy exporter detained in 2017 by Chinese police after he was accused of financing terrorism.

He was forced to surrender some US$1 billion of assets, which Taiwan News claims were then sold.

International condemnation grows

After years of pressure, a number of countries are stepping up to condemn China’s treatment of Uighurs and other minority groups.

Canada’s parliament described the persecution as “genocide”, while the US State Department published a report that concluded the atrocities amount to “genocide and crimes against humanity”.

That latter report – the 2020 Human Rights Record – also levelled accusations at Beijing that included “severe restrictions and suppression of religious freedom; substantial restrictions on freedom of movement; forced sterilisation and coerced abortions; forced labour and trafficking in persons”.

Crimes against Uighur: China making tens of billions of dollars from 'genocide'

Secret footage showed hundreds of shackled and blindfolded Uighur men at a prison camp in China's Xinjiang Province. Photo / YouTube

At the time, China’s Foreign Ministry described the report as “the most preposterous lie of the century, an outrageous insult and affront to the Chinese people”.

In early October, Beijing again fired back at renewed criticism of its treatment of the Uighur people, attempting to deflect attention to America’s racial tensions.

“Due to the inaction and botched performance of a few countries including the United States, the international community still has a long way to go to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

He said “racism and white supremacy are still spreading in the US” and that had “again torn to pieces the US disguise of ‘equality’ and ‘freedom'”.

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