Even in loss of life there is no such thing as a respite for the Uighurs, one of many world’s most persecuted minorities, in keeping with a brand new investigation that has revealed China is destroying burial grounds the place generations of households have been interred.
Over the previous two years, tombs have been smashed and human bones scattered in dozens of desecrated cemeteries in China’s northwest area, analysis by Agence France Presse and satellite tv for pc imagery analysts Earthrise Alliance has revealed.
Whereas the official rationalization for the coverage is city improvement or the “standardisation” of outdated graves, abroad Uighurs say the destruction is a part of the state’s concerted effort to eradicate their ethnic identification and management each facet of their lives.
“This is all part of China’s campaign to effectively eradicate any evidence of who we are, to effectively make us like the Han Chinese,” stated Salih Hudayar, who stated the graveyard the place his great-grandparents had been buried was demolished.
“That’s why they’re destroying all of these historical sites, these cemeteries, to disconnect us from our history, from our fathers and our ancestors,” he stated.
An estimated a million principally Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up into re-education camps in Xinjiang within the identify of combatting spiritual extremism and separatism.
Former detainees interviewed by The Telegraph have recounted horrific torture, being compelled to memorise Chinese language Communist Get together propaganda, and to surrender Islam.
Those that are free are intimidated by suffocating surveillance and restrictions, together with bans on beards and veils.
An additional Telegraph investigation in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in June discovered proof of widespread intimidation of the native inhabitants, whether or not inside mosques or in household houses, together with reviews that officers had been providing “gifts” of pork, a forbidden meals for Muslims.
Beijing has lengthy sought to manage the resource-rich area of Xinjiang, the place a long time of government-encouraged migration of the Han – China’s ethnic majority – have fuelled resentment amongst Uighurs.
Final 12 months, Uighur exile teams reported that the Chinese language authorities had been establishing “burial management centres” in a bid to exert management over probably the most non-public features of their lives.
The most recent investigation claims that the destruction of present graveyards has been carried out with little respect for the lifeless – with AFP journalists discovering human bones discarded at three web site and different websites the place tombs had been decreased to mounds of bricks.
Satellite tv for pc imagery analysed by AFP and Earthrise Alliance, reveals that the Chinese language authorities has, since 2014, exhumed and flattened at the very least 45 Uighur cemeteries – together with 30 previously two years.
The Xinjiang authorities didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The destruction is “not just about religious persecution,” stated Nurgul Sawut, who has 5 generations of household buried in Yengisar, southwestern Xinjiang.
“It is much deeper than that,” stated Ms Sawut, who now lives in Australia and final visited Xinjiang in 2016 to attend her father’s funeral.
“If you destroy that cemetery … you’re uprooting whoever’s on that land, whoever’s connected to that land,” she defined.
China has dismissed the escalating international criticism of its therapy of Uighurs, denying there are any human rights points within the area.
This week, america stated it will curb visas for officers over the alleged abuses and blacklisted 28 Chinese language facial recognition and synthetic intelligence know-how companies that it accuses of being implicated within the repression of the Muslim minority.
“This kind of behavior seriously violates the basic norms of international relations, interferes in China’s internal affairs, and harms China’s interests,” stated Geng Shuang, a Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman. “The Chinese side strongly deplores and opposes it.”