It took the world some time to notice what China has been doing to a minority community in its vast lands; the country is finally taking center stage for its abominable treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population.
In the past few months, people have taken to online platforms to shed light on the unacceptable state-sponsored oppression of China's Muslims. Via hashtags condemning the country for its violations, including one called "China is terrorist" and another titled "China kills Muslims," activists and online users took it upon themselves this week to attract all the attention needed to this blatant breach of human rights.
Some hashtags also call on the boycotting of all products made in China.
Because the silence was deafening
People are now standing up against this injustice
Many are calling on the world to boycott Chinese products
China continues to label all news of its violations as "fake"
Chinese authorities deny committing any abuse when faced with evidence of Uyghur concentration camps and other violations. Instead, they reiterate that measures taken against Chinese Muslims are an attempt to crack down on "extremism" and those who continue to call out China are spreading "fake news."
Just last week, the country lashed out at Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil after he criticized its policies toward the Muslim minority.
The footballer, a German Muslim of Turkish origin, posted messages on Twitter hailing Uyghurs as "warriors who resist persecution." In his posts, Özil criticized both China's crackdown on the minority group and the silence of Muslims on the matter. In response, the country's foreign ministry said the player had been deceived by "fake news."
Over the weekend, China deleted the player from computer games including Pro Evolution Soccer, Pro Evolution: Kings Assembly, and Pro Evolution Club. His name was also taken off the FIFA website in the country.
Arsenal has since distanced itself from the player's comments, saying "it always adhered to the principle of not being involved in politics."
Abuse against Muslims in China is systematic
Activists and human rights groups have called the Chinese government's conduct a form of "campaign of ethnic genocide."
Recently leaked documents exposed China's systematic brainwashing of Muslims in prison camps across the country, something the government has previously denied. The documents revealed that the Xinjiang population, to which the country's Uyghur Muslim population belongs to, is monitored, abused, and locked up in camps under strict rules.
There have been multiple reports in recent months confirming the state of abuse in these prison camps. People who escaped the so-called "re-education camps" in China have reported torture, rape, and abuse.
In October, a Muslim woman who escaped - after being detained in November 2017 - said inmates were "gang raped, subjected to torture and medical experiments and forced to eat pork."
Other documents confirmed that 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017.
A report released earlier this year also noted that a mobile "tracking" application was being used by police officers and authorities to monitor Uyghur citizens. The persecution of Muslims in the country has been well-documented by top human rights organizations, especially when it comes to the Uyghur community.
Uyghurs make up about 45 percent of China's Muslim-majority province Xinjiang. Muslims living in the province are barred from giving their kids certain Islamic names, wearing burqas, and donning "abnormal beards."
Under regulations passed in recent years, people of the faith are forced to watch state television and are provided with guidelines on how children can be educated. In 2017, Xinjiang's Muslims were reportedly ordered to turn in all religious items to police, including prayer mats and copies of the Holy Quran.