Muslims held in ‘re-education camps’

Understand the issue that Muslims are facing in China.


Maia AlBarrak

Help spread awareness by signing the provided petition.

Maia AlBarrak, Sports & Opinion Editor

Muslims are being targeted in China, and this issue still goes unnoticed by most media. 

Millions of Muslim minorities are being held in ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang. According to Muslims Held in China’s Detention Camps Speak Out, “an estimated two million Muslims detained without trial by China’s government over the past three years, in what has been described as the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.”

The majority of this issue is taking place in Xinjiang, a territory located in northwest China. Chinese authorities are also greatly focusing on the people of Xinjiang known as Uighurs. This genocide dates back all the way to 2014 when Chinese officials blamed several terrorist attacks on Uighurs. 

The people of Xinjiang live a private and independent life from the rest of China. Xinjiang is rich in sources that quickly attracted authorities’ attention. The Chinese government quickly began to encourage the migration of the Han Chinese, the Chinese population found mostly on the easternmost side of the country. With the increasing number of migrants, tension began to break between groups which led to protests and violence between them. The Chinese authority blamed the Uighurs and Muslim minorities as the leading cause of violence and separation of ethnic groups. 

This issue became a reason for the suppressing of the Uighurs and Muslim minorities, which led authorities to destroy extremists and separatist groups. 

The concentration camps created were part of a policy of de-extremification.” According to, “Under this policy, Beijing imposed draconian restrictions in Xinjiang intended to erase the Uighurs’ Islamic religious and cultural identity, including imprisoning hundreds of thousands in so-called ‘re-education camps’.”

When this issue first came to light, Chinese officials denied any accusation made against them, but after proven wrong, they came forward and saw it as a way to put a stop to extremists.

While it is uncertain how Muslims have always been treated in China, social studies teacher James Plaza has an idea concerning the root of this problem. Plaza stated, “I’m not all that familiar with the history of Muslims in China. However, I do know that since 9/11, and with the increasing war on terror. I just know that globally, Muslims have been targeted more than they ever have in the past.” 

In a Vox article titled “Concentration camps and forced labor: China’s repression of the Uighurs”, author, Jen Kirby stated, ”Experts estimate as many as 3 million people have disappeared into these camps at some point, with about 1 million currently being held.”

One way Chinese officials are weakening Muslim’s faith in their religion is by forcing them to commit sinful acts. If you are familiar with the religion of Islam, it is common knowledge that eating pork and drinking alcohol is one of the biggest sins one can commit in the religion. With this in mind, according to, “Chinese authorities have reportedly forced Muslims in the Xinjiang region to eat pork and drink alcohol during the country’s lunar new year holiday amid an alleged crackdown on Islam.” 

Victims of this issue are tied and torn between staying alive or speaking out, their voices are no longer theirs. But just because they struggle to speak about their experience and this issue doesn’t mean you can’t. There are ways that you can help. Many petitions are open for your vote. You are also free to donate if possible. 

If enough of us come together for this cause, our government might take its own action on this crisis. As stated by Plaza, “With petitions, the idea is that if enough people show that they’re upset about it. Theoretically, our government should be like, wow this is an issue that our people care about, and we should do something about it.”