genocide with Chinese characteristics

Magnus Fiskesjö's picture

The genocide with Chinese characteristics continues in Xinjiang.

There is a report today (https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/furniture-01092020165529.html ) which shines a further spotlight on the absolutely revolting Chinese government campaign to destroy the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Xinjiang region, and thereby destroy them as peoples.

People are being forced to trash the beautiful interior design of their own homes -- on pain of being sent to the infamous identity-conversion concentration camps. Those permitted to stay in their own homes are forced to replace their own indigenous cultural decor with tacky Chinese replacements - so, a genocide with Chinese characteristics that profits Chinese business.

We have already learned earlier, about the Chinese government outrageous assault on the Uyghur supa (the heated floor referred to as 'platforms' in the above article -- which is actually an equivalent to the northern Chinese kang!), see f.ex. https://twitter.com/uygursontiktok/status/1167476626633965568?s=12 ; https://twitter.com/GroseTimothy/status/1167461384868782080 - and for more on all aspects of the Chinese government's genocidal campaign across Xinjiang, including the grotesque bulldozing of shrines, mosques, cemeteries and so on, see this updated list: https://uhrp.org/featured-articles/chinas-re-education-concentration-camps-xinjiang

It's all part of a grandiose campaign to force people to assimilate as Han Chinese, by way of terminating their languages, their cultural traditions, art, literature, religion and all of the rest, including by mass arrests of artists and writers, and by mass family separations, whether parents are locked away in the concentration camps, or sent off as Chinese industry forced-labor work slaves, and their children turned into orphanage inmates purposefully cut off from their culture. All of this is plainly violating both Chinese and international law, of course, not least the Genocide Convention. 

It's despicable and appalling, and I personally think the now ongoing cultural destruction (including this invasion of people's homes, as well as the bulldozing of cemeteries, of saint's shrines, etcetera) also inevitably raises the question of Chinese culture itself: Does Chinese culture now equal selfish intolerance? How can anyone expect any respect for Chinese culture after this genocide? For example, will anyone in the world still want to study Chinese voluntarily after they learn about how they prohibit indigenous languages and force-teach Mandarin, in the concentration camps by stuffing it down the throat of people of all ages?

And given what is happening, can China remain represented in any international bodies for cultural heritage protection? UNESCO? Or can their representatives expect any respect? I think not.

But whatever happens in the long run, it is clear the current Chinese regime is shaming and dragging not just Chinese culture as a whole, but the very name 'China' down into the muck, for a long time to come.

Magnus Fiskesjö

Cornell University

nf42@cornell.edu