See Benjamin Wallace-Wells for more on how the death of Martin Luther King devastated liberalism.
Tibetans are not the only minority group facing brutal oppression by the government of China. Charles Cummings writes on the treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighur people of Xinjiang:
Uighurs have been jailed for reading newspapers sympathetic to the cause of independence. Others have been detained merely for listening to Radio Free Asia, an English-language station funded by the US Congress. Even to discuss separatism in public is to risk a lengthy jail sentence, with no prospect of habeas corpus, effective legal representation or a fair trial. About 100 Uighurs were arrested in Khotan recently after several hundred demonstrated in the marketplace of the town, which lies on the Silk Road.
And what happens to these innocent Uighur men and women once they land up in one of Xinjiang’s notorious “black prisons”? Amnesty International has reported numerous incidents of torture, from cigarette burns on the skin to submersion in water or raw sewage. Prisoners have had toenails extracted by pliers, been attacked by dogs and burned with electric batons, even
In Typhoon, I relate the terrifying true story of a prisoner in Xinjiang who had horse hair inserted into the tip of his penis. Throughout this diabolical torture, the victim was forced to wear a metal helmet on his head. Why? Because a previous inmate had been so traumatised by his treatment in the prison that he had beaten his own head against a radiator in an attempt to take his own life.
This is the reality of life in modern Xinjiang. Quite what the Chinese hope to gain from their inhumane behaviour remains unclear. According to Corinna-Barbara Francis, a researcher with Amnesty’s East Asia team, “the intensified repression of Uighurs by the Chinese authorities is in danger of contributing to the very outcome that China claims it is warding against – the radicalisation of the population and the adoption of violent responses to the repression.”
The government of China commits hideous atrocities on anyone it decides it doesn’t like. Of course, we’re hardly in a position to claim the moral high ground any more.
But ethnic minorities in China’s outlying areas, like the Uighurs and the Tibetans, are treated particularly harshly. As I said in “Rebellion in Tibet,” the Chinese are making every mistake every imperial power ever made.
That’s why it stuns me when some online publication that claims to be for “peace and social justice” publishes apologies for China such as this. Unbelievable.