When one Uyghur is detained, the spouse is regarded as suspect and detained too, and children are given for adoption. To save the children, the spouse not yet detained quickly files for divorce.
by Marco Respinti
The ways of cultural genocides are subtle. Piles of corpses are not amassed along the roads. Cultural genocides pursue the slow annihilation of a nation by canceling its future. The Uyghurs are a case in point. Since the 2017 offensive that issued the ultimate challenge to them, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has devised several methods to achieve its genocidal goal against the Uyghurs. This has resulted in a massive deportation of innocent people to “re-education” camps, and has also targeted their children who remain at home. One of the most heinous tactics against Uyghur children is in fact to make them “artificial orphans.” Their parents are not dead. They are inmates in detention and labor camps. Children, unwillingly left alone by their parents, are then “forcibly separated from them and placed in childcare institutions, or orphanages, and boarding schools.” Dilxat Raxit, member of Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress serving as its spokesperson, brings this sad and serious situation to the attention of “Bitter Winter.”
It is, as he points out, “a serious humanitarian crisis.” In fact, he underlines, “a large amount of evidence shows that Uyghur children have been deeply affected by that campaign. Many of these artificial orphans have been transferred to adoption institutions outside East Turkestan,” which is the preferred name its non-Han inhabitants give to the region that the Chinese government calls Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In those facilities, “pressured by a precise cultural and educational strategy devised by the CCP, they are prevented from speaking and learning their mother tongue. It is an ideological re-education.”
There is worse. “Chinese authorities,” Raxit adds, “also perform a ‘family planning’ policy that aims at preventing the birth of future Uyghurs.” Officially, the demographic tyranny through which the Chinese regime has ruled the country for decades has been ended. The infamous and bloody “one-child policy” is now over. It has been substituted by a “two-children,” then a “three-children,” then a vague “more children” strategy to counter-act the heavy losses caused by the original “one-child policy” itself, and the subsequent demographic (and economic) crisis that hit the People’s Republic of China. But for targeted minorities, including Uyghurs and Tibetans, the strict control that the regime exerts on births is still dully performing its evil duty. As the CCP has showed in other cases, changes in names are not the same as changes in policies.
Yet, this tragedy affecting Uyghur children is now entering a third step. “According to the local sources, the divorce rate among Uyghurs is now incredibly high.” Raxit based his conclusions on testimonials on the ground whose security will be protected by anonymity. For sure, the growing rate of divorce among Uyghurs predates the latest wave of mass persecution. In modern times, this is of course caused by a number of reasons, but the progress of direct persecution largely accelerated it. While divorces follow a precise procedure resulting in official certificates, the CCP persecution of children in XUAR is a hidden cause of their high rate. “The main reason behind divorce is that, in the face of the ‘artificial orphans’ campaign, many Uyghur couples decide to protect their children from the start: no family, no orphans…”
In fact, the CCP performs “family persecution.” If a wife is investigated and/or detained, so is her husband, and vice versa, for suspected “complicity” or “covering up”—a variation of the “guilt by association” principle. “As a result,” Raxit comments, “many Uyghur families have been destroyed and their members relocated in three different places. The parents have been detained separately or left home to undergo ‘educational review,’ and their underaged children have been ‘adopted’ by official institutions to be resettled who knows where. But by divorcing, Uyghur couples may give their children a different fate. In fact, in case a mother or a father is detained, the other parent [who, once divorced, would not be arrested following the arrest of the spouse] may remain at home taking real care of them. It is a desperate last resort… Unfortunately, though, I am sure that Uyghur children will not at the end really escape persecution. The CCP will devise new methods…”
To save their own children, Uyghurs increasingly destroy their own families before the CCP does it. It is a sad paradox that once more shows the cruelty of the CCP policies. And of course, the divorce stratagem goes against the religious persuasion and the traditional customs of Uyghurs, who believe in strong and stable families. “The inheritance and development of Uyghur religious and traditional culture largely depend on family education,” Raxit adds. “Parenthood is a powerful force in shaping the children’s future faith. Therefore, Uyghurs have always held a very cautious attitude toward divorce. But the CCP’s policy of extreme genocide is destroying Uyghur families.”