Beijing: China is carrying out a 'cultural genocide' in Xinjiang region where thousands of people are believed to be kept in concentration camps, according to an article in The Atlantic.
"Beijing frames these moves as its way of rooting out terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism. But the aim of China’s actions in Xinjiang is clear: to homogenize Uighurs [also spelt as Uyghurs] into the country’s Han Chinese majority, even if that means erasing their cultural and religious identity for good. What is taking place is a cultural genocide," journalist Yasmeen Serhan wrote in the article published in The Atlantic.
"The repercussions bear heavily even on Uighurs living outside the country. Their burden is more than just raising awareness about what is taking place in their homeland—a task many have taken up at great cost to themselves and their families.
"It’s also about preserving and promoting their identity in countries where few people might know who the Uighurs are, let alone what the world stands to lose should their language, food, art, and traditions be eradicated," the journalist wrote.
Uyghur Human Rights Project director Omer Kanat said the Uighur people are under 'very big psychological pressure'.
Omer Kanat, the director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, told The Atlantic. “We cannot sleep at night.”
Lawmakers in Lower House of the United States Congress on Wednesday passed legislation which will now require publicly listed companies in the US to disclose commercial links to China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Uygur Region, media reports said.
The legislation was passed amid growing concerns about the use of forced labour in China's Xinjiang region.
In contrast to numerous recent China bills that have drawn near unanimous support, the bill passed through the Democratic-controlled chamber along largely party lines.
After failed attempts by Republicans to drastically amend the bill, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act passed by a vote of 253 to 163, with 26 Republicans breaking ranks to support it, reported South China Morning Post.
US will take steps to block some exports from China's Xinjiang region, over the country's alleged human rights abuses directed mostly against the Muslim Uighur minority of the region, media reports said last month.
Reports say that Beijing has detained more than one million people from Xinjiang in recent years, citing security risks. Thousands of children have been separated from their parents and women have been forcibly subjected to methods of birth control.
China maintains that the people interned at these sites are given job training and education which it is necessary to keep them away from terrorism and counter the secessionist forces in the region.