A bleak thought for the first day of winter…
Whenever I posted a photo of some amazing new piece of Chinese infrastructure, e.g., the Suzhou metro or part of the 24,000-mile high-speed rail system (California will catch up soon!), American friends would predictably respond with a complaint about the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghurs in response to an ongoing conflict.
(My American Facebook friends who’ve never been to China throw rocks at the sheep-like Chinese for following the party line, but they respond to virtually any mention of China in nearly identical and predictable ways: (a) point out that the government there is “authoritarian”; (b) “what about the Uyghurs?”; (c) “what about Hong Kong?”)
The same friends who criticize China regularly celebrate Bhutan, virtuously carbon negative (CNN) and using the correct yardstick (“meterstick”) of Gross National Happiness. That Bhutan deported one sixth of its population in the 1990s is apparently forgotten or not relevant.
Muslims are only 1.8 percent of China’s population (CIA). The Chinese government could reasonably infer that if the Bhutanese can be warmly appreciated by the global righteous after expelling a minority religious group that was 16-30 percent of its population (estimates vary), instead of continuing this draining fight it would make more sense to pay nearby Muslim-majority countries to take them and/or have an India-Pakistan-style split in which part of western China was given away.
In other words, could Western say-gooders concentrating on this theme actually end up harming the Uyghurs whom they purport to be helping?
(Separately, we are informed by our media that 1-1.5 million people are being detained in camps (example below). Ghoulish tech question: wouldn’t camps big enough to house this many people be easy to spot via satellite imagery? The U.S. prison gulag is easily spotted from space. It is easy to find articles (example; example 2) showing one or two camps, but not a comprehensive census. In the age of satellite imagery, why are the purported Chinese concentration camps the subject of speculation?)
- “1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China’s Xinjiang: academic” (Reuters): A leading researcher on China’s ethnic policies said on Wednesday that an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims could be held in so-called re-education centers in Xinjiang region, up from his earlier figure of 1 million. … “Although it is speculative it seems appropriate to estimate that up to 1.5 million ethnic minorities – equivalent to just under 1 in 6 adult members of a predominantly Muslim minority group in Xinjiang – are or have been interned in any of these detention, internment and re-education facilities, excluding formal prisons,” Zenz said at an event organized by the U.S. mission in Geneva, home of United Nations human rights bodies.
- U.S. incarceration rate (we are, sadly, #1)