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The Modern Genocide of the Uyghur People

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2021 2:17 pm

The Modern Genocide of the Uyghur People

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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April 12, 2021 2:17 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with ERLC’s Chelsea Patterson Sobolik to discuss the difficult but enormously important topic of the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide of the Uyghur Muslim people. Sobolik details the horrors inflicted upon the Uyghurs, and shares how we as individuals and as a nation can respond to this modern-day genocide.


Welcome to Family Policy Matters, an engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. Hi, this is John Rustin, president of NC Family, and we're grateful to have you with us for this week's program. It's our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on Family Policy Matters. And that you will feel better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation. And now here is our host of Family Policy Matters, Tracy Devitt Griggs.

Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. Genocide is a word that often conjures up images of past atrocities, including the Holocaust and Rwanda. Unfortunately, it is not. There is one currently taking place in Western China. According to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has waged a systemic campaign of oppression and persecution against Uyghur Muslims. Chelsea Patterson Sobolek is policy director for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's Washington, D.C. office, and she's been following the story closely. We are grateful to have her join us today. Chelsea, tell us what we know about the horrific treatment of China's Uyghur population. Absolutely.

Well, thank you so much for having me. And there is a lot to unpack here. Like you mentioned in your introduction, the Chinese Communist Party is waging what the U.S. has determined to be a genocide against this population. So zooming back out kind of 30,000 foot view, the weaker Muslim population lives in a providence in Western China called Xinjiang, which we'll get into in a bit. But they are an ethnic and religious minority in China. And since about four years ago, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically been carrying out a campaign of internment, forced labor, forced sterilization, etc.

So kind of dive into those a little bit. The Chinese Communist Party has placed an estimated between one and three million Uyghurs into what they have called reeducation camps. But for, you know, for us, they are concentration camps because they're being forcibly removed from from their homes and placed into these camps. You know, they use these camps to break Uyghur families apart. In some cases where Uyghur husbands have been sent to the camp, China has sent ethnically Han men to live with the Uyghur wives and forcibly procreate with them. And in some cases where both the mother and father are detained, Uyghur children have been sent to government run, quote, boarding schools, but they're essentially orphanages where the children live.

There have been lots of, you know, detailed reports of rape and torture in the camp. And then once you know the CCP has determined that Uyghur has graduated from one of these camps, they will be sent to work in forced labor factories. It's important to note that China is the world's largest cotton producer, and the vast majority of cotton comes from Xinjiang where these Uyghurs are.

So they're forced to labor with little or no pay. And then China, you know, as a woman, this one's especially heartbreaking, but China is forcibly sterilizing women or subjecting them to forced IUDs, forced abortions. There's an excellent report from Adrian Zins, who's a German reporter or researcher, and he did a great report, but he found that between 2015 and 2018, Xinjiang placed more than eight times more IUDs per capita than the entire rest of the country.

So again, there's a lot going on. Another thing to note very briefly is that even if Uyghurs haven't been placed into the internment camp, Uyghurs and really anyone in China is subjected to the surveillance state and, you know, their phones are monitored, their movements are monitored. There is no such thing as a private life, and Uyghurs especially are being closely watched and targeted in Xinjiang. So why is this population being targeted in this way? Do we know?

We do. So Beijing will state that, you know, paint the Uyghurs as separatists and as a terrorist threat. So that's kind of the initial reasoning they gave. So in 2009, there were some clashes in Xinjiang. You know, the Chinese government blamed Uyghurs. You know, Uyghurs want their own state.

That region is semi-autonomous. So there's a lot of geopolitics going on. But it's important to note that since 2017, President Xi Jinping issued an order saying that all religions in China should be Chinese in orientation. So since over the past decade, China has cited what happened over a decade ago as why they're specifically targeting Uyghurs, but the government approach to religion writ large, whether it's Uyghur, Christian, whatever religion someone is practicing in China, they are tightening and cracking down.

Right now, it is the Uyghur culture and the Uyghur population. Something else to note that's very important about that particular region is China's geopolitical economic plan called the Belt and Road Initiative. It's essentially their modern version of the Silk Road and it flows right through Xinjiang. So it's this big, decades-long economic initiative and it flows right through Xinjiang. So they need that region to be very tightly controlled. So there's multiple reasons why they're targeting the Uyghur population right now. You know, some economic, some trying to sinicize or make Chinese in character or form any religious belief.

And, you know, of course they are persecuting Christians, Catholics, many other religious groups in China as well, but they have ratcheted up the persecution towards the Uyghurs. It's a state and nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. For more information about NC Family and how you can help us to achieve this incredible vision for our state and nation, visit our website at Again, that's And be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts, and of course our flagship publication, Family North Carolina Magazine.

We'd also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So we may think that China is just way over there and it doesn't have a lot of effect on us, but what kinds of implications do you think what's happening over there can have on Christians and people of faith in our country and even across the world? Several things. So referencing back to the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese government will give a lot of loans and financial incentives to some developing nations, but they have really sunk their economic teeth into countries. And so there are certain countries that are afraid to criticize the Chinese government and China is exporting its view of human rights or lack thereof.

It's surveillance technology. It's exporting its values to other nations and nations that have a strong economic tie to the Chinese government will be less quick to criticize, will be less quick to stand up to the Chinese government. So there's a very real possibility that those governments, again, that human rights approach, again, tongue in cheek, will be exported to other countries. And then many Uyghurs who live in the United States or live in Western countries where they themselves are not in camps, they're afraid to criticize and to speak up because they're afraid of what the Chinese government will do to their families or friends. Back in China, whether if they criticize their families will be locked up. So I think there's a lot of fear involved and a lot of economic financial strongholds that the Chinese government has been systematic in as well.

There are a lot of businesses. I mean, you mentioned governments, but of course, there are a lot of businesses in the U.S. who are hesitant to criticize China because of their ties to that country. So it does infiltrate even further. What kind of response, official response, has the U.S. had to the situation in China? So the United States has issued several rounds of sanctions. The U.S. has human rights sanctions called global magnificence to apply to several top ranking Chinese officials and Chinese government entities responsible for the human rights abuses and religious freedom violations. And these sanctions are twofold.

They're financial and then there are visa restrictions for these officials being able to travel to the United States. So the U.S. has issued several rounds of those. And then the Treasury Department, both during President Trump's administration and then under the current administration, has issued several orders on imports from Xinjiang trying to counter them on the issue of forced labor and the products that we are bringing into our country.

It is illegal to import products made with forced labor. And so we're trying to counter China on that aspect as well. And then on the last day of the Trump administration's day in office, Secretary Mike Pompeo made the official determination of genocide. And the U.S. was the first country to describe what the Chinese government is doing as a genocide.

And, you know, a determination like that is not made lightly or quickly. The U.S. has only made five or six. It's quite small genocide determination since since the term was first adopted. And then about two weeks ago, several countries issued multilateral sanctions. The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada have specifically issued joint multilateral sanctions. And then several other countries are strongly condemning China's actions as well.

So I think there's there's a growing consensus among Western countries that, you know, we have to be in together and we have to be very bold in countering China. What can we as individual citizens, as Christians, fellow human beings, do to respond to this atrocity and come to the aid of the weaker people? You know, the first thing I would say is to pray our prayers matter. And it's one of the one of the first things that we should do when we hear about anything like this is bring this before the Lord and ask him to change the hearts of the Chinese government for these people to be free because they are fellow image bearers. And so we ought to pray for persecuted people abroad and in China and for the weaker people, we should pray that they hear the good news of the gospel and that they come to know Jesus as their personal savior.

And then the next thing we can do is advocate. We can all pick up the phone or shoot an email to our local representative or senators and ask them to support certain pieces of legislation such as the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act or prioritizing Uighurs in our refugee program. They're fleeing a genocide host meetings and invite a Uighur to speak to a local group and share their personal experience. And there certainly are Uighurs that are fearful, rightly so.

But there are other Uighurs who are very bold and wanting to share their story and wanting to tell others about what's happening. So I think, you know, prayer, advocacy and awareness are some excellent steps in the right direction towards helping our fellow image bearers. So where can our listeners go to follow this story and all your good work at the ERLC?

Yeah, so they can go to our website,, and there they can sign up for our newsletters, our podcasts and read the articles that we put out about this issue and a number of others. Chelsea Patterson Sobolek, policy director for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's Washington, D.C. office. Thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.

You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week to listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina. Go to our website at That's Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-02 19:58:00 / 2023-12-02 20:03:15 / 5

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