According to new reports, China is destroying ancient Uyghur burial grounds in the northwestern province of Xinjiang as part of their continued effort of oppressing the minority Muslim Uyghur population of the country.
Earthwise Alliance published satellite images that shows vast areas of what was once Uyghur burial grounds, now destroyed and instead holding areas of flattened earth with facilities such as car parks or children’s playgrounds.
Salih Hudayar, a Uyghur man in exile, told AFP news that his own great-grandparents’ burial ground had been destroyed as well by the Chinese state:
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…to disconnect us from our history.”
China has also destroyed the tombs of famous Uyghurs in its effort to suppress Uyghur cultural heritage and identity. The tomb of the beloved Uyghur poet Lutpulla Mutellip was destroyed, and according to Chinese officials, moved to a “standardized” facility. The burial ground where Mutellip was buried has now been turned into a children’s playground called Happiness Park, and the exact whereabouts of his remains are still unknown.
The continued cultural genocide of the Uyghur population inside China has seen horrendous human rights abuses, with China acting with full impunity. Detention camps, the largest mass incarceration of peoples since the Holocaust, are holding more than one million Uyghurs by the Chinese state. Uyghurs are prohibited from practising Islam, speaking their language, or showing any sign of their cultural identity.
Calling them “re-education camps”, Chinese officials claim these detention camps are needed to combat so-called foreign terrorism and extremism, although human rights groups have pointed to massive human rights abuses being committed in these detention camps. Reports of mass rape, forced abortions, and forced sterilizations of Uyghur women are also emerging from these detention camps.
The world largely continues to turn a blind eye to the severe oppression of the Uyghurs, as China’s economic and political power seem to sway world leaders away from heavily criticizing China’s brutal regime on ethnic and religious minorities. The cultural genocide of the Uyghur population continues, with even the dead and buried being erased from memory by the Chinese state.