Christian Solidarity Worldwide U.K. and the René Cassin Foundation hosted a Zoom conference on Monday that featured the daughter of an imprisoned Uyghur with several faith leaders. One of the faith leaders, Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, described the persecution of the Uyghurs in China as being "far too familiar" to the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Not only did he note the concentration camps, but also the disappearance, enslavement, torture, and death of Uyghurs by the Chinese government.
"All of these things echo from our past, and it would be a breach of the meaning of the history to say that we don’t want to act, that we’re not prepared to learn from it," Wittenberg said during the conference. "This touches us deeply from the core of our history."
Though Christian Solidarity Worldwide could not provide statistics as to how many Uyghurs were being persecuted, they did state that they were "aware that a number of people do not know where their family members are or if they are still alive." It is estimated there are as many as 3 million being held in concentration or re-education camps. The organization said China is "attacking Uyghur identity, culture and religion, breaking up families, and leaving children and the elderly alone and vulnerable," Baptist Press reports.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide spokesperson Kiri Kankhwende told Baptist Press "Individuals sent to the so-called re-education camps do not have access to legal counsel and there is no mechanism for appeal. Their families are typically not told where they are being held, or when they will be released. In addition to the camps, an unknown number of Uyghurs, including many professionals and religious leaders, face extremely harsh prison sentences for so-called terrorism offences."
Though the event spent time detailing the Uyghur persecution in China, it was not intended to detract from the Holocaust. And Mia Hasenson-Gross, the executive director of René Cassin Foundation, stated that, unlike the Holocaust, there is still time to act to end the persecution of the Uyghurs.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.