Senior Bachelor Student Majoring in International

Relations at ADA University, Azerbaijan



Abstract. All in all, this paper discussed the research question on the struggle of Uyghurs to find their voice on the protection of basic human rights and explored different studies and articles on the facts and statements made by different countries and world organizations in reference to human rights. Afterwards, some arguments corresponding to some facts and evidence to show the extent of the violations, and abuses concerning human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were analyzed. Followingly, the counterarguments and policy recommendations were introduced. Afterwards, the objections have been shed light on the mentioned facts. Since addressing the issue of human rights violation and mistreatment of the Uyghur and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang is not a simple task, the expanded efforts with the help of different nations, and the coalition of Turkic, or Muslim or both groups will contribute more to aspire tremendous endeavors collectively to deal with the problem.

Keywords: Chinese Foreign Policy, Uyghurs, Xinjiang, China, Human Rights, Detention Camps, Minority


Introduction of the Topic and the Research Question


Predominantly, the paper will be focusing on the human rights concerns with regard to the Uyghur ethnic group living in Xinjiang, north-west of China. The research question is structured in the way that “How are Uyghurs struggling to find their voice on human rights protection in China?” The reason to concentrate on this specific question is related to the fact that Uyghurs are one of the most vulnerable ethnic minorities that are not fully able to practice their basic rights. This is one of the problems that has turned over a crisis for China’s politics, which focuses mostly on national security and strategic issues. If we go deeper and analyze the reasons behind it, it is apparent to see that the issue is substantially grounded on the reasons of both ethnic separatism and religious rhetoric [9, p.15]. The crucial problem for the Chinese government is regarded with the challenges that may arise further in the way, Uyghur minority groups could also make a huge influence on other minorities living there and make the situation more radicalized and ‘extremist’. Therefore, the government aims to prevent any kind of separatist acts that could occur with regard to “Islamic Extremism”, and inevitably this extends the worries and concerns in the region [9]. Yet, this fear is turned out the fear of Uyghurs from the government for being able to sustain their lives and ensure their security in the prison camps. Since the Uyghurs are ethnically recognized as Turkic minorities, and their religious affiliation are characterized as Muslims, these differences consequently lead to inevitable clashes throughout the decades and eventually result in Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in the region [9].

Primarily, the existence of systematic abuse deprives them of fundamental rights, as they are sent to stay in some extrajudicial detention camps that started about a decade ago, but substantially got escalated since 2017, sometimes also known as internment camps, in which more than one million Uyghur and other ethnic minorities have been detained and brainwashed in order to bring them up in such a communist party spirit, which takes places in different “classrooms” inside of the camps by focusing on the main purpose of assimilating them into their culture, religion, and language. The essential motive is in respect of eliminating existing “threats” to the government and about considering Uyghurs as a “separatist” and divergent religious group of people living in the territory of Xinjiang. Hence, they are in a way all the time under the control so that the security and territorial integrity of the state be perfectly ensured. With that regard, these all procedures, abuse and maltreatment of Uyghurs, prevent them to exercise their freedom, liberty as a crucial part of the fundamental human rights and put them into such an unsecured lifestyle, which is a violation of international law by referring to the universal declaration of human rights [16, p.72]. And it has been already years that Uyghurs are struggling to find their voice on human rights protection and resisting what they conceive as state repression and seeking the help of other nations by creating social solidarity because of being able to release from these detention camps and not abandon their religion and not to lose their Uyghur identity at the end.

Moreover, forced labor as one of the other significant issues, which is also a part of pretty arguable contexts in this specific theme, is concerned with severe human rights abuses in the region of Xinjiang, drawing the attention of many countries around the world especially, the ones who are importing these products made by forced labor [11, p.1]. Thus, it is quite crucial to analyze the facts that how the products made in Xinjiang results in a very urgent forced labor risk and several challenges in the global supply chain. Although the forced labor process is not acceptable in general at all, and not welcomed, the condition in Xinjiang is much more outrageous. More precisely, it is not even typical forced labor to have coerced transfer of people or migrants to pay some amount of money. The most important part of the story is related to the fact that for the Xinjiang case, it occurs in much more a centralized way since there is a role of the state and its expanded policies to abandon those ethnic minorities from their religion and culture. By “re-educating” those people, it is believed to make them more faithful to the state and refrain from dangerous “extremist” and radical ideologies. With this regard, forced labor case can purely become a part of crimes against humanity due to several reasons; first, the actions with respect to forced labor is clearly founded within the consistent and systematic plans by the central government, have a base on ethnic and religious discrimination; secondly, there is the sign of violent acts and mistreatment towards the workers; and thirdly, forced labor also includes subjugation process to some degree [12]. According to the CSIS reports, it is known to have different forms of forced labor that take place in the internment camps, which can be regarded as prison laboring especially in cotton and textile industries, in which they are strained to work. This all procedure, making those minorities be part of the forced labor is shown to be one of the components of the program that is aimed at mitigating the poverty level within the country. However, they are paid even under the minimum salary, which results in genuinely cheap labor as a consequence by those companies with the permission of the government. More than that, they are not given a choice, which means that if they would not agree upon to work, the situation will get much more deteriorated by being back to the prison and staying in detention [12].


Arguments & Evidence:

  1. To begin with, when we refer to recent studies and reports concerning Human Rights, it is highly likely to come across the statements and criticisms made by different states to urge China to stop human rights violations going on in Xinjiang. A large number of countries, more precisely, 43 countries together with Japan, Turkey, United States, and Canada already have condemned “systematic violations of human rights” towards Uyghur ethnic minorities. Afterwards, these all countries decided on signing of a declaration in the human rights committee of the UN General Assembly, which proves the fact that Uyghurs living in Xinjiang are experiencing an extensive systematic violation of human rights, such as torture, sexual, mass surveillance, and other types of violence [3, p.1]. The above-mentioned statement made by the French ambassador to the UN, Nicolas De Riviere, also openly expresses the idea that Beijing should create free and unlimited access to UN spectators to be present in these territories to fully recognize what is going on in Xinjiang. Although some disagreements were made by China in order to keep some states away from signing the declaration and state to veto the resolution, state experts resisted this joint act of condemnation. Correspondingly, some human rights agencies concluded with a statistical number that approximately up to a million Uyghurs, also Kazakhs, Hui, and other groups of Muslim population living in Xinjiang are exposed to stay in detention camps, which might be considerably large camps since the World War II to abandon the people from their religion or ethnic identity by comparing to the concentration camps at the time that exist for Jews, to carry more Communist virtue and are induced in the forced labor in these camps [3, p.2]. Hence, these factors are indicated the invisibility of Uyghurs on Human Rights, and the way how they are being repressed by the system.
  2. Secondly, the existing human rights reports and statements made by the US consider the situation going in Xinjiang as ‘genocide’ towards the Uyghur population. On that account, the specific statement caused lots of controversies within the ongoing discourse regarding Uyghurs whether to accept it as a genocide or not, which is still quite debatable in political discussion between especially these two countries, US and China. Yet, alongside them, it will be apparently important to see also other countries’ reactions to US and China, which might be more discussed in counter-argument parts. Besides, the report made in 2020 points out an even more extended list of violations substantiated with fundamental rights, such as forced abortions, rape, and sterilization alongside the torture or sexual abuse mentioned in the above declaration [17, p.1]. There have been more accusations and statements expressed by the US that directly target the argumentation of “genocide and crimes against humanity”; however, the annual human rights report explicitly demonstrated the official allegation made by the Biden administration for the first time. During the same period, promptly before these annual reports, there is also a bit similar with the declaration of 43 countries in UN General Assembly another joint movement by the US, EU, and UK administration to impose the restrictions and sanctions on China with reference to the Uyghurs to condemn the entire situation [17, p.1]. Overall, this coordinated movement most probably and subsequently triggered the US position in a more certain and straightforward manner to name it as “genocide” in annual human rights reports. With this report, what the US wants to convey is about defending the need for basic rights of people living there on the account of international order. Furthermore, the US president decides on the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in 2020 in accordance with applying sanctions specifically on the prevention of forced labor, and different kinds of abuses exist in the Xinjiang region towards Uyghur ethnic groups [7, p.1]. Unambiguously the aim of the United States while applying the sanctions and penalties for China is to make sure that the imports from the country do not involve any forced labor actions and at the same time warn the Chinese government on more future restrictions concerning surveillance and other companies. In this way, they can also support their claims on the consideration of the situation as “genocide”, which is stated due to the fact that Uyghur ethnic minority groups are witnessing the violations, and being confined into different physical, or psychological mistreatments in the prison camps that are grounded on the different types of policies, which are intended for “genocide” of these ethnic and religious groups and accordingly having a greater confirmation on the approval of “genocide” by the Senate as well, and not having any controversies between Democrats and Republicans in the government on the restrictions over China show their clear and concise stand on the issue regarding the violation of human rights in Xinjiang.
  3. Additionally, many international organizations including United Nations condemned Chinese officials concerning the ongoing situation in Xinjiang, tried to take steps for the prevention of Human Rights violations. Apparently, the member states, and spectators are thoroughly concerned with this intense case going on China’s Xinjiang territory and try to examine the situation more closely. Concurrently, they also push local and international companies to receive information concerning the fundamental rights of Uyghur workers, which shows the abusive work conditions, forced labor, and other kinds of violations. After investigating the situation, they are being involved in constructive discussions with Chinese officials to end these abuses towards the ethnic minorities and to respect the rule of law by referring to international law. Also, as mentioned above, the number of countries condemning China regarding human rights hugely increases over time, and these criticisms put more pressure on the UN to take serious actions. As well as given the number of documents, and several testimonies from the people who have been encountering all these violations and mistreatments are all included in the UN reports. While analyzing UN reports on the matter of Human Rights, it is feasible to notice that UN General Assembly is insisting on eliminating the injustices, and discrimination especially with respect to the religion towards Uyghur ethnic groups living in Xinjiang, People’s Republic of China. The report consists of different chapters that cover mainly the issues that are already swept under the rug regarding freedom of expression, policies, and eventually the basic rights of these groups of people [15]. Primarily, the most important and problematic part of the situation is related to the unjust living standards, as pointed out in the Amnesty International report in 2019 that there is severe food deprivation as a form of punishment in these concentration camps. Besides, the government named “Urumqi” put limitations on Halal meat, which is an apparent sign of religious discrimination and restriction on freedom of religion simply. This has been encountered in many media outlets alongside the reports, which illustrates the launching of ‘anti-halal’ meat clampdown for the Uyghur population. Even the usage of the logo signs for ‘halal’ products, which shows the production conditions that suit Islamic regulations, have been banned in Xinjiang, which is justified right after because of being “unauthorized” action. Yet, indeed through these tools, they are getting rid of all the religious signs and symbols in the region. These campaigns are all intended for depriving these people of consuming ‘halal’ meat which is also part of their religion. The Chinese officials justify their actions in terms of the fact that having a large number of ‘halal’ products will be resulted in much more radical religious actions towards the government. In this way, by applying more restrictions, they are planning to assimilate Uyghurs to the Han Chinese population, to accept Chinese Communist ideologies, and gradually want them to lose their Uyghur identity [5]. Although the factors clearly demonstrate religious discrimination, and China has also been criticized a lot for these actions, the situation continues to get worth over the years. More than that, even the current reports show that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation has more deteriorated in terms of food insecurity in these prison camps because by comparing to the previous conditions it became much more difficult to transport the products and materials to the camps in this tough timeline [15, p.2].
  4. Yet, the problem does not end with the detention camps, also outside of these camps, Uyghurs within Xinjiang are struggling to find sufficient food and products for daily consumption due to the fact that the Covid-19 outbreak made the conditions for Uyghur Muslim ethnic groups much more complicated than it was. Unfortunately, there were some videos recorded by the Uyghur Human Rights Project that are showing the people who are seeking help by explicitly telling “I am starving, my children are starving” [15, p.2]. The illustrated statements explain the existing condition that to what extent justice is addressed towards Uyghur minority groups in respect of the protection of basic Human Rights. Secondly, the discrimination based on religion more or less might be regarded with the access to practicing their religion properly. By referring to the International Investigative Journalists’, it can be said that the China Cables project has detected some facts that police officers are taking people’s actions under the control by phone hacking and other innovative technologies in order to monitor and to target the Uyghurs who are practicing their religion by installing the Quran. This can also be accepted as a part of restrictions on the freedom of religion of Uyghurs [15, p.2]. On top of that, by referring to Human Rights Watch, it is indicated that Chinese officials intentionally delay the access of UN agencies to Xinjiang territory for about three years. Nevertheless, it appears that on the basis of international law, the UN considers the oppressive actions towards Uyghurs and other Turkic population as crimes against humanity since it includes various types of violation, family separation, surveillance, and detention in the camps [18].

That might be considered as the chief reason why United Nations urges to get access for monitoring the conditions much deeper and closer, yet owing to the facts that the Chinese government eludes from international monitoring in the region, it becomes difficult procedure for High Commissioner on Human Rights so that it takes time to submit the progress report on the allegations with regard to the conditions of people living in Xinjiang. For that reason, the 43 countries that condemned the systemic violations of human rights in the region, also are requiring immediate access to the territory by putting more diplomatic pressure on the government. Instant access of the UN observers could help make the issue more public and explicit and lead to taking many serious attempts on protecting their fundamental rights because, in this regard, the UN spectators may create a situation that Chinese officials might act more responsible for their acts corresponding with the regulations found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by recalling their duty and obligations on the covenant, which will result in emergency cases that UN could possibly ask the joint-act of the global community to give a signal for the government to change its policies. Apparently, it seems high time to act upon the renewed glance over the issue of human rights violations of the Muslim Turk ethnic minorities in the region although the Chinese government has always been denying the facts and allegations. Because of putting all the legal and political matters in order both domestically and internationally, the UN should find the ways for its access to the region, and simultaneously Chinese government should provide the ways as like other 120 states in the world for the invitation of the UN observers and specialists for their formal visit to the region. Yet, unfortunately, regardless of the numerous requests made by Special Procedures asking the Chinese officials, a very limited number of visits have been done within recent years, which surely is not sufficient enough to detect the conditions closely since it is required to have a control group over the civil and political rights and afterwards to have UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to prepare legislative enactments regarding the violation of human rights in the region and to try for the implementation of the taken actions. [24]. Followingly, United Nations constantly warns the officials and have been negotiating a lot with the government with reference to get easy and prompt access to the region for extending their investigations and to accurately get acquainted with the degree of the persistent repression that exists over the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for quite a long time [18].


Counterarguments & Objections to Arguments:

  1. In the first instance, as an objection to the arguments about internment or known as detention camps, China denies the existence of oppression, forced labor, human right abuses, or different kinds of violation. As follows, the prison camps in Xinjiang are merely considered as re-education camps and training centers as a crucial part of vocational education. The Chinese officials in recent decade has been defending the policies regarding the re-education camps to a large extent in the way that even people can benefit from the process of vocational education with regard to acquiring new abilities such as learning a required language and work skills that could somehow relates to the 21st century’s advanced work conditions. As a consequence, it will increase the new job opportunities and deal with the existing poverty. More than that it is also reasonably necessary factor to fight against the terrorism alongside the aforementioned facts [23]. Moreover, they argue that it is decided to increase the re-education camp network further since these vocational education centers are aimed to improve the living standards of people in Xinjiang, and at the same time they are trying to prevent people from holding such extremist political or religious ideas in order to live in a harmonic atmosphere. Followingly, by holding back the “extremism”, people in Xinjiang with their different ethnic identities and backgrounds can live in a prosperity and peace [8].
  2. Furthermore, the US consideration of human rights violation as “genocide and crime against humanity” statements is also accepted controversial enough to some degree. As defining what “genocide” is could be very difficult and linked to the idea that how broadly we can define genocide. It can be quite arguable that whether to use genocide in a more restricted manner or not because one may claim that even though systemic sterilization is not acceptable in any way at all, still it may not be considered as a part of mass murder, and accordingly not the genocide. Thus, the question arises concerning the argument that what could distinguish genocide from mass violations in order to reach the conclusion that how to know and define the term “genocide”. Principally, one of the most significant elements is the intention that makes genocide different from violence [1]. Then this phenomenon is questionable and contested for Uyghur’s case in the way that those policies may include different types of violation or oppression, but not aimed at physically destroying or cleansing the ethnic groups on the whole, and simply not intended for the mass murder. Alongside, Chinese officials are denying the so-called genocide argumentation and other libelous statements regarding the Uyghur-Muslim population in Xinjiang. Even Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister through the United Nations Human Rights Council provides various objections in an explicit way and comes up with various facts, such as the having about 24.000 mosques near the Western part of the territory that could turn down any kind of genocide allegations in the region. More than that, the government points out being ready to provide the access for High Commissioner for Human Rights to the region [6]. So, we can make an inference from the argued points that what is happening in Xinjiang can be considered as a violation itself, but not the “genocide” as in the way the US defines.
  3. Additionally, although a large number of countries in the world, ‘great powers’, such as the US have already condemned China concerning the violation of human rights, there is also another country like Russia whose position is as important on the event as it is the US and other’s opinion to be considered. Since Russia is also one of the ‘big powers’ by holding the Security Council Veto right, and also sometimes encountering the Chinese-Russian alignment on the veto procedure, its position on China is quite crucial to be discussed. In one of the interviews, Vladimir Putin, the Russian President is having a very positive approach in respect to China and its policies and calls China more like a friendly nation because it is related to the fact that China and Russia are having a good strategic relation in last decades. As stated also by the president that this strategic partnership does not only lie on low politics like technology, or economy but is also regarded with high politics and based upon a deep level of mutual trust and collaboration within these fields. Most importantly, Russia does not see China as an “enemy” because China is also having a similar approach towards Russia different from the United States. Interestingly, President Vladimir Putin also points out the very fact that China even by comparing it to the United States, is gaining such enormous power in connection with purchasing power parity and trade relations overall. For that reason, other countries might accept China as a threat because of being one of the global economic powers in the globe, and also, they can try to destroy the friendly relations of Russia and China, and even several attempts have already been made. Nevertheless, the mutual relationship and cooperation will continue, and Russia’s position is clear enough on China’s policies. Simultaneously, when it comes to specifically the Uyghur issues, it is claimed that having met with the members of this community makes Russian’s understanding of the Uyghur issue explicit in the way that they state, “We have heard quite positive thoughts from the people”, and seemingly they are welcome with those made policies in the territory of Xinjiang as it is believed that China is doing a large amount of good for people in terms of economy, education or cultural development of the people [2].




Finally, after being aware of the conditions and the level of oppression that the over one million Uyghur Muslim Turkic minority struggling with, it is time to think of different policy options that would show the high level of effectiveness to deal with the existing problem, which are mainly aimed at changing other countries approach to the issue and ensuring security and stability in the region. From my perspective, the possible course of actions could be divided into two categories, first of all, the international act should be prepared by the UN, and then joint movement of Turkic nations as a coalition to stop the repression of Turkic Muslim Minorities and to help them to practice their fundamental rights independently are quite necessary steps in the beginning, which later on may result in somehow the closing down those detention or “re-education” camps, or at least could help to mitigate the conditions for these minority groups living in the territory of Xinjiang, China.


Policy-Recommendation at International Level:

The first idea regarding UN activities and operations in the region should not only be focusing on forming the resolutions on theory but also proceeding with the binding resolutions having an enforcement mechanism could have been a primary goal for coping with the current circumstances in the Xinjiang region because UN positions should not be only bound to theoretical condemnation but mostly be intervening. If United Nations takes into consideration the fact that there is an ongoing massive human rights violation towards Uyghur ethnic minorities within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the next act and operations should be based upon humanitarian intervention to the region to stop the oppression. With this regard, we can come to the conclusion that the international community has an obligation to intervene in the region to protect the human rights of these people by referring to the authorized decision taken by United Nations Security Council resolutions. Also, by taking into account the very realities that access to the Xinjiang territory is not being provided easily and the apparent difficulties that independent experts are facing, these resolutions should not only concentrate on the implementation of sanctions but also mainly military intervention to the region must be undertaken because I firmly believe that when the state itself is unable to protect its inhabitants from the human rights violations, or engaging in the actions lead to crimes against humanity, the first pillar of the Responsibility to Protect (RTP) done by all member states of United Nations should come to the existence. This can be accepted as one of the options to stop the violations and repression straight away at the international level.


Policy-Recommendation, Part 2: Joint Movement of Turkic (or Muslim) Nations


Secondly, the Turkic nation’s coalition even including alongside the religious affiliation could be the other policy recommendation on providing humanitarian aid to the Uyghur population. The countries located in the Central and West Asian Region should take the measures on this joint movement since they share more or less the same culture, history, and tradition, especially Turkey’s approach is utterly remarkable on this point. Nevertheless, it is also complicated to analyze Turkey’s point of view due to showing unexpected silence and harsh criticisms during the last decades. Thereby, from my perspective, one of the most noteworthy actions of Turkey done in 2015, on February 9, concerning the support and unlimited contributions to Uyghur refugees on solving their travel documents and getting rid of those detention camps, should continue onward with together other Turkic nations to boost up this humanitarian aid instead of just keeping its silence on the issue [20, p.1]. As a result, the Uyghur Turkic minorities might feel themselves in a slightly safe position and see Turkey as an important power or defender for their future prosperity in the region. Besides the process of fleeing from China to Turkey or other countries for safety purposes, or just offering safe and secure places to live outside Xinjiang territory, as these procedures might not be enough to stop the ongoing violation of human rights, and Turkey needs to take any action over urging the Chinese government to close down all of the internment camps exist in Xinjiang. Accordingly, it is also needed to rebuild and redesign the life standards of Uyghurs in the area where they are living currently. Thereby, Turkic nations should be interested in preventing unhealthy life situations and the malnutrition of children and families by extensively providing food bundles and medical aid to improve their life conditions gradually. Furthermore, by recalling the previously mentioned arguments regarding considering the ongoing process as “genocide”, the joint network of the nations can elevate the issue to this level, and accordingly, it might lead to bringing attention to the global community. As a result, they might obtain more and more support from companies and countries to boycott and hopefully change the behavior of the Chinese government. With the help of this tactic, much more countries, especially the democratic ones will be attracted by that as they are primarily promoting and contributing to human rights, peace, and welfare of the people. The reason is related to the idea that any kind of boycott can make China be worried about and take further actions, or at least can allure the attention of most countries in the global arena and push them to think about the ongoing discourse and processes about Xinjiang and to know what extent is needed to take an action. For instance, the countries like the US, UK, Australia, and Canada have declared the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and planned not to send any ministers, diplomats, and government officials to the Olympics due to human rights concerns in the Xinjiang area [4]. Although this “light” version of a boycott might not seem so important in comparison to other kinds of boycott, still it is a threat to the positive image and representation of the country. If we consider the fact that they will lose the support of the predominant countries on the globe and consequently, it might lead to achieving reasonable improvement with regard to the concerning issue by putting more pressure on China. More importantly, if the nations would have been unified on the joint movements, the different companies can also come together and cause even much more influence economically on the government besides the “light” boycott. Moreover, besides this consideration, the joint movement has to come up with legal assistance to make them release from those internment camps by defending the human rights protection in different international human rights bodies and agencies. It can be regarded with creating associations in legal terms or legal action networks and providing lawyers, experts, or legal academics that could represent them and incorporate their power to come up with various types of initiatives on the prevention of massive human rights violation, such as signing various types of policy prevention or human rights policy acts regarding the Uyghur emergency in China’s the territory of Xinjiang and a little be able to mitigate the situation gradually. As a consequence, the countries, especially, Muslim coalition can draw the attention of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the issue of human rights violation of Uyghurs and urge them to pass the resolutions for maintaining the rights, and dignity of these groups of people. Or, for instance, I believe they can also, put more diplomatic pressure. From my perspective, as China is caring about their reputation and image in the globe in the way other countries is also keen with that in the diplomatic arena, if the issues are taken for the different international or regional organizations, the number of criticisms will tremendously increase around the world. In this regard, substantial measures on human rights can be taken beyond. Therefore, the coalition network can also raise the issue to raise in the International Court of Justice or to push various organizations, such as the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights on providing periodic reviews continuously to show all processes and conditions in Xinjiang clearly, or urge the most important committees relevant to the issue, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to provide more advice on the theme and enforce them followingly, and at the end, they can straightforwardly and quite easily call the UN and put more pressure collectively on it in terms of taking serious actions on the issue.


Alternative-Arguments & Opposing Views to Policy Recommendations:


  1. At first, when it comes to the issue of UN intervention, that could turn out not to be as easy as indicated, but rather quite controversial enough for international politics because in order for the UN to intervene in China there are two possible ways: 1. to establish a peace mission; 2. to make a military intervention. In both of the cases, the confirmation of the Security Council is needed [22]. As China is one of the Veto members of the UN Security Council, it can easily block every possible action against the Chinese position. It is related to the fact although China has used the veto power a little less in comparison to the other permanent member states, it is expanding the amount of occurrence at recent times, such as in 2020 [10]. Therefore, this increasing power apparently may threaten other countries and result in hesitation to use any allegations regarding human rights violations towards China.
  2. On the other hand, as China is one of the biggest economic actors nowadays, even the US is trying to be hesitant when it comes to political announcements against China as its economic influence is paramount. Also, US-China economic relations would have positive implications for the rest of the world as well, which is mostly concentrated on selective engagement, term also known as a “different animal” in economy based upon different practices in the form of profitable cooperation, and fair-trade agreements with other countries [25]. As an important element in international economic relations, all these strengthen China’s position in the globe and illustrates the rising economic power as a threat to other states and world powers. Therefore, it is not easy to unite the countries against human rights violations in China and take actions because that would have a big political cost for them. One of the most profound examples to bring can be China’s Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, which has included around 70 various countries in the beginning and getting expanded more even in recent terms as it reshapes the global economy by providing tremendous opportunities for other countries especially located in Asia, Middle East as well as Europe. With that regard, China is planning to make more integration, reach the intense development by creating enormous infrastructure frameworks around the world [19]. Even China considers Belt and Road Initiative as a part of big global projects. It can be a strong tool to create a positive image by contributing to the countries in terms of increasing welfare and prosperity economically with the help of simply “money” and their experts. Also, the other factor what makes it more attractive is the given access to the any country in the world to benefit from it [13]. Thus, China’s efforts result in other countries’ being neutral in other political themes, specifically be hesitant in the issues concerning human rights violations going on in Xinjiang.
  3. In addition, even though Turkey as a Turkic Muslim nation country most of the time keeping its silence, abandon the public criticism of the ongoing issue as China is one of the biggest import partners for Turkey because they do not want to destroy their relations and benefit from the given opportunities, that also can be the reason why the Turkic countries are not keen on expressing their opinions very clearly when it comes to human rights violation events [21]. Surely, this positive image has been created thankfully the Belt and Road Initiative project and Turkey is also the one who is quite a lot benefiting from that, and simultaneously we can define Turkey’s economy as more or less dependent on Beijing, which causes lots of changes within their policies towards China’s violation of human rights in Xinjiang region in different times. By recalling the statements made by Turkish President, Rajab Tayyib Erdogan about China is an apparent sign of it, which is expressed in the way that there is a great deal of trust in the Belt and Road Forum in Turkey, and they hope and believe for the deeper cooperation in the future as well. Consequently, alongside it may lead to deepening China and Turkey’s economic relations [21].
  4. Finally, as the Chinese government most of the time seems more justificatory towards its policies, it is more sensitive to the different views in terms of public opinion than in the way we imagine. Thus, there is all the time high probability by the government to change the course. Especially, if we pay attention to the problem of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, there can be more attempts to modify the discourse by the government. More precisely, although elevating the issue to “genocide” by the joint movement of the nations can help them to address the problem more promptly and to bring more attention to the globe to get more support at the end, it might work within the domestic affairs in a different direction. For example, if more attention and facts can be brought to the Hans and other ethnic groups in China about the human rights violations, mistreatment, and abuses, it can form a much stronger incentive for the Chinese government to change the course. In this regard, using the label “genocide”, if it does not truly reflect the situations on the ground particularly taking into account of not having a mass murder, it would be counter-productive than ever expected as the Chinese government can more easily shape the public opinions in China in a different direction as it can dismiss the labeling as baseless allegations. It can also divert the attention by dismissing it as Western shaming and lies to stigmatize a rising power, which is quite similar to the Russian’s perspective as already pointed out above because Russia is also trying to shed light on the facts related to Western propaganda, and not see any existence of the violation and show it as “fake” news made by West and expose the Western lies concerning the issue of human rights of Uyghur ethnic minorities.


Conclusion and Limitations of the Research


In conclusion, I have tried to discuss the research question on the struggle of Uyghurs to find their voice on the protection of basic human rights also found in the universal declaration of human rights and explored different studies and articles on the facts and statements made by different countries and world organizations in reference to human rights. Afterwards, some arguments and counterarguments were provided. Then, some policy recommendations were introduced and afterwards, the objections have been shed light on the facts. Also, China as the strongest economic power in the world can easily make other states be slightly “dependent” on it by the very economic impacts on them. The issue related to Belt and Road initiative has been talked over regarding Turkey’s and other countries’ hesitance on the Uyghur minority groups problem because of benefiting from the economic relations with China. Since addressing the issue of human rights violation and mistreatment of the Uyghur and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang is not a simple task, the expanded efforts with the help of different nations, and the coalition of Turkic, or Muslim or both groups will contribute more to aspire tremendous endeavors collectively for dealing with the problem. Lastly, there are quite a lot of difficulties to the access of finding out the precise information on the perspective and contributions of the Turkic nations to Uyghur and other ethnic minority groups living in China’s territory of Xinjiang, which surely should be accepted as a part of potential limitations of this long-way research study. As the topic is very sensitive in itself, at some points it was difficult to touch upon all the essential themes inside and the process is not that easy to come across the different countries’ positions on it explicitly because of having such a very controversial and quite political topic. While analyzing the different literature on the theme, it is encountered that most of the countries are having hesitation towards the Chinese government to confidently show their stands on the human rights concerns due to benefiting from different opportunities made by the Chinese government or having “dependence” of their economies from China.



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İnci Rüstəmova



Məqalədə əsas insan hüquqlarının müdafiəsi ilə bağlı uyğurların mübarizəsinin tədqiqi məsələsi müzakirə edilmiş, həmçinin insan haqları ilə bağlı müxtəlif ölkələr və dünya təşkilatlarının verdiyi faktlar və bəyanatlar üzrə müxtəlif tədqiqatlar və məqalələr araşdırılmışdır. Daha sonra Sincan-Uyğur Muxtar Bölgəsində baş verən insan hüquqlarının pozulmasının miqyasını göstərən bəzi faktlara uyğun gələn arqumentlər və sübutlar təhlil edilmiş, tədqiqat tövsiyələri təqdim edilmişdir. Sonda isə qeyd olunan faktlara əks arqumentlər göstərilmişdir. Ümumilikdə, bu ərazidə uyğur və digər etnik azlıq qruplarına qarşı insan hüquqlarının pozulması kimi problemin həlli sadə məsələ olmadığı üçün müxtəlif xalqların, türk, müsəlman və ya hər iki qrupun koalisiyasının köməyi ilə genişlənən səylərinin daha çox töhfə verəcəyi qeyd edilmişdir.

Açar sözlər: Çinin xarici siyasəti, uyğurlar, Sincan, Çin, insan haqları, həbs düşərgələri, azlıqlar



Инджи Рустамова




В целом, в этой статье обсуждался исследовательский вопрос о борьбе уйгуров в отношении защиты основных прав человека, а также изучались различные исследования и статьи о фактах и утверждениях, сделанных разными странами и мировыми организациями в отношении прав человека. После этого были проанализированы некоторые аргументы, соответствующие некоторым фактам и доказательствам, показывающие масштабы нарушений в отношении прав человека в Синьцзян-Уйгурском автономном районе. Затем были представлены контраргументы и политические рекомендации. Впоследствии возражения осветили указанные факты. Так как решение проблемы нарушения прав человека и жестокого обращения с уйгурами и другими группами этнических меньшинств в Синьцзяне является непростой задачей, расширенные усилия с помощью различных наций и коалиции тюркских, мусульманских или обеих групп внесет большой вклад в коллективное стремление к огромным усилиям во благо решения проблемы.

Ключевые слова: внешняя политика Китая, уйгуры, Синьцзян, Китай, права человека, лагеря для задержанных, меньшинства