By M Ghazali Khan
London: Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in London on Saturday against the persecution of Uighurs in China.
Waiving Uighur flags and placards with a variety of captions, they chanted anti-Chinese and pro-Uighur slogans. Speakers after speakers, including former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, addressed the protest. Giving them an idea of the severity of Chinese persecution of Uighurs, he said that a Uighur once told him: ‘We pray for such Islamophobia in China.’
Demonstrators booed and taunted at Chinese Embassy staff, trying to sneakily take the photographs of the demonstrators from behind the curtains of windows of the embassy from where they had removed the Chinese flag. However, outside the embassy, the sky-blue Uighur flag with a crescent and a star written on it, ‘stand4Uighuirs’, was visible everywhere.
The protest was jointly organised by 50 Muslim organisations from all over the UK and supported by the Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU).
According to United Nations and human rights groups, Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities are being arbitrarily detained or imprisoned since early 2017.
International human rights organisations have described the abuses by the Chinese government as ‘crimes against humanity’.
According to Canberra based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), between July 2016 and June 2017, Chinese government monitors flagged at least 1,869,310 Uighurs and other citizens in Xinjiang for merely using file-sharing application Zapya.
United Nations estimates the number of Uighur and other Muslim detainees to be over one million. The crimes meted out on these helpless souls include most humiliating physical and sexual violence.
China justifies these crimes by saying that to ‘fight extremism’, such actions are necessary. Unfortunately, in a world of ‘legalised lawlessness’ introduced in the world by George W. Bush after 9/11, crimes against Muslims in the name of curbing extremism has become one of the handiest tools for tyrants all over the world. During Gujarat Genocide 2002, when atrocities were widely condemned and the Hindutva fascists were asked why instead of punishing the culprits was the massacre of Muslims allowed, they cited US invasion on Afghanistan as a precedent, a country ruined for the crimes of a few.