Samuel Mills, Staff Writer

In China’s Xinjiang region, there is a minority that has faced increased amounts of discrimination and poor treatment for several years. The Uyghur people have had their culture, religions, and freedoms stripped from them cruelly and methodically, bit by bit.

Uyghur people are an ethnic minority living mostly in northwestern China, making up less than one percent of China’s total population. They have their own unique culture and language; as for religion, a majority of Uyghurs are Muslim. In the last few years, countries have gotten wind of the Chinese government discriminating against Uyghurs. One extreme example is that many Uyghurs are being sterilized without their consent. Sterilization prevents these people from having children, so this is an attempt by the perpetrators to stop Uyghurs from reproducing. This is considered by many to be eugenics, since it seems as though the Chinese government is trying to entirely remove Uyghurs from the gene pool. 

As if sterilizing these people was not already heinous enough, this also means that there will be fewer people who could preserve their culture for the future. If no action is taken, it is very possible that Uyghurs could die out all together in a matter of years or decades.

On top of being forcefully sterilized, Uyghurs also face other severe forms of discrimination and injustice. About one in every eleven Chinese Uyghurs (nearly ten percent of the total eleven million) have been removed from their homes and put into labor/reeducation camps. This is a tremendous amount of people who are having their basic human rights infringed upon. Even if Uyghurs manage to avoid camps, they still face cultural and religious discrimination in their daily lives, such as being considered “radicals” just for being Muslim.

Other countries have voiced that they do not believe this to be ethical, and urged action against these discriminatory practices. The United States is among these countries. As recently as this year, the United States officially considered these anti-Uyghur practices to be genocide.

The situation with Uyghurs in China is only worsening with time, and inaction could cause more discrimination, harm, and even loss of life. For Uyghur people to be able to practice their culture and religion in peace, this will have to stop, and soon. Unique cultures and ethnic groups around the world are important. They should be a part of world history, but for their heritage and contributions, not for their mass extinction.