The 46 nations in support of China’s treatment of the #Uyghurs include many Muslim states…

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Why do Muslim states stay silent over China’s abuse of the Uighurs?

Nick Cohen
4 July 2020

Nations that claim to be defenders of the faith offer no protest to the concentration camps

When China imposed trade sanctions on Norway in 2010 for honouring the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo with the Nobel peace prize, it spat out a word we weren’t used to hearing from propagandists for an atheist communist regime, but should get used to today. “It’s a blasphemy,” a party mouthpiece said.

China has stripped away the religious justifications to reveal what was once half-hidden: unadorned and unstoppable power. In many countries, criticising China is the new blasphemy. Nowhere can you see the power more nakedly displayed than in Muslim-majority regimes. Once, they tried to murder blasphemous novelists and screamed about their desire to defend the prophet from the smallest insult. Today, they bend their knees and bite their tongues as China engages in unspeakable atrocities against the largely Muslim Uighur population of western China.

One of the great crimes of the 21st century is being committed in front of our eyes. We see it, yet we don’t register it. The Chinese Communist party is reverting to type, and reviving the totalitarian fear of the Mao era. To bring down numbers of the largely Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang, the China scholar Adrian Zenz reports, the Communists are forcing women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices. If they resist, the state sends them to join the one million Uighur people and other Muslim minorities detained in what the state defines as “re-education” camps. A BBC investigation found that China was separating children from their families so they grew up without understanding Islam.

But the main reasons why Muslims suffer in silence is that the Muslim-majority countries that raged against Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo have decided to stay silent. They use the idea of Muslim solidarity only when it suits them.

Many have been bought off. China is now a more active and influential voice at the United Nations because so many countries are benefiting from billions of dollars in Chinese investments through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure programme. As Norway found in 2010, and Australia found this year when it asked for an international inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, those who blaspheme against China face cyber-attacks and sanctions. Better to take the rewards and avoid the punishments.

China is now turning criticism of its disastrous record on incubating the Covid-19 virus and its atrocities against its Muslim minorities into crimes, and the people who should be shouting the loudest are bowing their heads in reverential silence.

•Nick Cohen is an Observer columnist

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/04/why-do-muslim-states-stay-silent-over-chinas-uighur-brutality

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