A reporter might be hesitant to comment on such matters, when sources are so few. But then those being accused chime in to "explain" the rumors, and their explanations not only confirm, but stagger. You might actually stagger. So sit down.
Word has been coming for a few years that the mainland Chinese government has been harassing religious types. That's not in dispute. Churches have been shut, mosques burned to the ground. There's photo evidence. Beijing doesn't even comment.
But then word started filtering out that the Red Chinese were more than harassing the Uighur people, an ethnic Chinese minority, who are mostly Muslim, by putting them away in concentration camps. The only dispute in that is what to call the concentration camps.
Beijing calls them education centers. But, as an American president named Lincoln once said, if a dog has three legs, but you call its tail a leg, it still has only three legs. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one. Concentration camps are concentration camps.
The government in Beijing would argue that point, and has. But the newest press releases coming from the ChiComs will leave you astounded.
A. There are a lot of men among the Uighur people who have been rounded up and sent away to those camps, er, education centers.
B. Their wives and families, for the most part, stay at home.
C. Since 2017, the Chinese government has run a Pair Up and Become Family program among the Uighur minority. The Pair Up program sends men to these households to live there, or as the government says, "to promote ethnic unity." Radio Free Asia says these men, often Communist Party officials, are referred to as "relatives," although they are not kin. The men sleep with the women of the house.
These rumors from Radio Free Asia could be chalked up to propaganda by the good guys. After all, stories like that are hard to believe. We think we remember some sort of ethnic cleansing along these lines in that movie Braveheart, but surely the kings of the time would have the decency to deny it.
We're still not sure if the stories about organ harvesting among the Uighurs are believable. Not that they're untrue, but just so scary as to be hard to believe.
But then Radio Free Asia, one of the few news outlets able to sneak into that part of the world, interviewed a local neighborhood official in Yengisar County, China, where these so-called "relatives" have been sent to live and sleep. He confirmed the arrangements. But he insisted the "relatives" and "their female hosts" keep a distance of three feet apart at all times, even while in bed.
We're sure that is no comfort to the husbands who are "away at camp."
The official also told RFA that Uighur families "are very keen" to have the men from the government stay. Which we're sure those folks will confirm, for the record, and officially. They probably will even sign a statement to that fact/fiction. If they know what's good for them. Or if they know what's good for their husbands in custody.
The official says the Han Chinese men, of the majority ethnic group, have government duties to perform in the households as well: They "promote ethnic unity." And in addition to eating and working together with these families, "They help [the families] with their ideology, bringing new ideas. They talk to them about life, during which time they develop feelings for one another."
We will guess that something is lost in the translation, because this local official isn't making things better for those of us who speak English. And understand the ways of men and women.
You won't be surprised to know that those women, or others, who protest hosting these relatives as part of the Pair Up program "are subject to additional restrictions" according to RFA.
Reporters say there are rumors going around that the "relatives" from the government sometimes bring pork and alcohol with them on their stays with the Uighur families. Which, as you might remember, goes against the customs of the Muslims. Then again, the whole point might be to destroy a culture.
But those are just rumors, pork and alcohol. What can be confirmed, however, is what Chinese officials will verify in their explanations. And what they confirm is bad enough.
It's called ethnic cleansing.
Editorial on 11/06/2019
Print Headline: This is ethnic unity?