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According to recent reports, there has been an increase in the use of forced labor and punishment for practicing religion in Xinjiang.
According to recent reports, there has been an increase in the use of forced labor and punishment for practicing religion in Xinjiang.

According to recent reports, there has been an increase in the use of forced labor and punishment for practicing religion in Xinjiang.

2015 attacks on a village in the west

Several reports released this week offer further information about the severity of the 2015 assaults on a community located in the western region.repression against Uyghur women and the pervasiveness of forced labor in Xinjiang

The recent exposure of unethical practices in global supply chains has raised concerns. In addition, the Chinese government has implemented new policies to promote the Chinese culture and religion in the Xinjiang region.

The Uyghur Human Rights Project released their report on Thursday, titled “Twenty Years for Learning the Quran: Uyghur Women and Religious Persecution

The report focuses on the connection between the rejection of religious liberties and the rejection of women’s rights in Xinjiang. According to the report, the government’s efforts against extremism and the widespread imprisonment of individuals have disproportionately affected women, robbing them of autonomy and deeming regular religious practices as criminal. A significant number of convictions were given retroactively, with elderly women often being targeted for actions deemed as “crimes” from their childhood.

Frequently, the reported “crimes” are said to have taken place within a brief span of time. On July 6, 2017, Ezizgul Memet was arrested and accused of illegally studying religious texts with her mother Buhelchem Memet (now deceased) for three days, when she was only five or six years old, in approximately February 1976. As a result, she was given a ten-year prison sentence. Similarly, Tursungul Emet also studied the Quran with her mother for five days in 1974 when she was around the same age. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Several of the women listed were older and may not be able to survive their prison sentences due to the harsh conditions in the region’s prisons. Patihan Imin, who was 70 years old at the time, received a six-year prison sentence in 2017. She was accused of studying the Quran in April and May 1967, wearing a jilbab from 2005 to 2014, and possessing an electronic Quran reader in her home.

…]

In many cases, these “crimes” occurred many years before the date of arrest. Tunisayim Abdukerim, who was 17 years old at the time, was sentenced to 13 years and 11 months in prison for teaching the Quran to a group of local women for one month in January 1989. Similarly, Mihrigul Mehet received a sentence of 18 years and 11 months for studying the Quran for 19 months in the late 1990s, wearing a face veil in 2000 due to “extremist influence,” and teaching the Quran to a local woman for 10 minutes a day over the course of one week in 2013. The longest prison sentence of 20 years was given to Aytila Rozi, who was found guilty of both studying and teaching the Quran. According to her record, she learned how to read the Quran while working in inner China in 2007 and continued to teach and study it within a small group of women from 2009 to 2011.Source]

On Thursday, new rules went into action in Xinjiang mandating that any newly built religious sites must embody “Chinese characteristics and style.” This is a reflection of the ongoing campaign to Sinicize the border, which has become more prominent in recent months. In November, there were reports of authorities demolishing mosques in the region.The Financial into sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Times conducted a probe on workplace sexual harassment. using satellite imagery showing that over 1,714 religious buildings across China have been altered, stipped, or destroyed to “harmonize” them with Chinese culture. In Ningxia, over 90 percent of mosques with Islamic architecture had features removed, and in Gansu, the figure was over 80 percent. Meanwhile, this month Xinjiang authorities are

Compelling Uyghurs to observe the Lunar New Year.

According to activists and experts, the government is using Chinese songs and dances to present a misleading depiction of Uyghurs embracing Chinese culture.

it demonstrates the Chinese government’s ongoing efforts to control and assimilate minority cultures and religions.

Professionals have declared that the recent rules represent a notable intensification and encompass not only places of worship but also “attire, marriage ceremonies, funeral rites, and other traditional practices.” Bradley Jardine, the head of the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, informed RFE/RL: “This action holds significance as it showcases the Chinese authorities’ continuous attempts to manage and assimilate the cultures and religions of minority groups.”

The goal is to isolate China’s religious groups from global networks and communities.

Human Rights Watch provided additional information regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s practice of isolating individuals socially and politically and closely monitoring them.

How the updated regulations will be implemented:

Maya Wang, the acting director of Human Rights Watch in China, stated that the recent regulations imposed by the Chinese government in Xinjiang are a further effort to oppress the cultural and ideological expression of the Uyghur people. These revisions intend to coerce religious practices to align with the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, and failure to comply could result in imprisonment.

In accordance with the 2024 guidelines, religions are expected to follow the principles of socialism and comply with the Sinicization of religions (article 5). Any constructions, renovations, expansions, or reconstructions of places of worship must incorporate Chinese characteristics and styles in their architecture, sculptures, paintings, decorations, and other elements (article 26). The updated regulations also introduce additional requirements for religious institutions to apply for permission to establish places of worship (article 20), as well as stricter limitations and complicated approval procedures for building, expanding, altering, and relocating places of worship (articles 22 and 25).

The “Sinicization” of religions, however, goes beyond controlling the appearance, number, location and size of religious venues, Human Rights Watch said. Places of worship must also “deeply excavate the content of [religious] teachings and canons that are conducive to social harmony … and interpret them in line with the requirements of contemporary China’s development and progress, and in line with the excellent traditional Chinese culture” (article 11). [Source]

Again on Thursday,

Human Rights Watch recently published a significant report discussing the involvement of global automotive companies in the use of forced labor from Xinjiang.

The report revealed several leading companies in the industry, such as BYD, General Motors, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen, whose products are sold worldwide. Here are a few key discoveries:

The 99-page report, “

Unconscious While Driving: Auto Manufacturers’ Involvement in Coerced Work in China

The study discovered that certain automobile companies have given in to pressure from the Chinese government to adopt lower standards for human rights and responsible sourcing in their Chinese partnerships compared to their global operations. This raises the likelihood of being involved with forced labor in Xinjiang. Many have not taken enough action to trace their aluminum supply chains and determine any connections to forced labor.

The connection between the aluminum industry and forced labor in Xinjiang, a province in the northwest region of China, is due to government-supported programs that compel Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims to work in Xinjiang and other areas.

Human Rights Watch reviewed online Chinese state media articles, company reports, and government statements and found credible evidence that aluminum producers in Xinjiang are participating in labor transfers. Human Rights Watch also uncovered evidence that fossil fuel companies that supply coal to aluminum producers in Xinjiang have received labor transfer workers at their coal mines. Xinjiang’s aluminum smelters depend on the region’s abundant and highly polluting coal supplies to fuel the energy-intensive process of aluminum production. [Source]

The Associated Press’s Simina Mistreanu supplied the information.

The significance of aluminum in the automotive sector and its prevalence in China.:

According to reports from the industry, over 15% of China’s aluminum supply and approximately 9% of the worldwide supply is sourced from Xinjiang. This material is commonly utilized in the automotive sector for various components such as vehicle frames, wheels, and battery foils.

Last year, China took the top spot for being the largest exporter of cars in the world and also holds the title for the largest producer of electric cars powered by batteries. The report also features BYD, a major Chinese company in the electric vehicle industry.

Global demand for aluminum is projected to double between 2019 and 2050, due in part to the growing popularity of electric vehicles, according to the International Aluminum Institute, a U.K.-based industry group. [Source]

In other recent media coverage of Xinjiang, The Diplomat published a short photo essay

Showcasing a recent publication by photographer Kevin Bubriski from the United States.

Reworded: The Uyghurs: The City of Kashgar Prior to the Disaster

The collection “Kashgar: Photographs, Prose, and Poetry” features images taken by Bubriski in 1998 in Kashgar, accompanied by written works from poet and activist Tahir Hamut Izgil and a historical essay by American anthropologist Dru Gladney. Bubriski expressed his desire for viewers to gain an understanding of the Uyghur way of life in Kashgar before the destruction of the old city and the imposition of strict, severe, and perilous limitations on cultural and spiritual practices.