SARA ALTUWAIJIRI WRITES — The sad saga of the Uyghur controversy proceeds apace.

The Chinese government has one million Uyghurs detained in re-education camps, some of whom have been utilized for organ harvesting to treat patients who have the coronavirus. Uyghurs have been sent to industrial factories in Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangzi and Zhejiang in order to maintain manufacturing industries.

China’s organ donor rate has hovered at one of the lowest in the world, with a donor rate of one for every two million people. Perhaps no more: While normally waiting for an organ donor may take years, currently, China only needs a few days for two lungs to be acquired.

This abrupt drop in wait time has aroused suspicion of unethical practices. When the outbreak in China reached its peak on the 22nd and 23rd of February, more than 400 Uyghurs were sent to Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Hunan provinces, where citizens are at high risk for coronavirus. In addition, 242 workers were sent to work in Changsha from Khotan, and 30,000 workers from different parts of Khotan were asked to continue working despite the outbreak. They were not only exploited, but while the rest of the nation’s citizens were urged to take precautions, the Uygurs’ health and wellbeing were completely disregarded.

Such practices compelled the United Kingdom to suspend all cotton imports from Uyghur prison camps. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) mentioned in a letter to the British government substantial evidence of China’s cotton industry using Uyghurs for forced labor. They asked Britain to investigate and stop all such imports. Gearoid O Cuinn, director of GLAN, a network of lawyers, academics and investigative journalists, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “ Its production is reliant on the largest systematic incarceration of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.” Specifically, cotton imports from Xinjiang violate British laws prohibiting  the importation of prison made goods.

In addition, Dr. Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who served at the Canadian embassy in China, said that what’s happening to the Uyghurs is cultural genocide. Canada asked China at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018 and again in March 2019 to release all Uyghurs who are detained. The Chinese government continued to deny that Uyghurs were imprisoned in reeducation camps until satellite photographs emerged in 2017 proved otherwise. That’s when Beijing experienced extreme immense international pressure.  There is no denying that the mass incarceration of Uyghurs, as well as the coronavirus, is real.


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