As the authorities put more and more Muslim men in detention, there is hardly anyone left to work on the fields.
In a village in Xinjiang’s Wusu city, more than 40 Hui men were recently arrested and detained at a local school. The school was converted into a “transformation through education” camp and is currently guarded by SWAT police. The detainees, all of whom are Hui people, are not allowed to meet or get in touch with their family members over the phone.
Bitter Winter has reported on several aspects of such mass detentions including how it is leading to broken families and psychological trauma. However, another critical issue is its effect on Xinjiang’s agriculture. Most of these Hui men were farmers; but with them locked up, the crops are going to waste, as there is no one sow or harvest them.
A woman who has lost both her son and husband to detention in the past one year revealed how tough things were at her farmland. “My family planted a lot of cotton this year. With only my daughter-in-law and me at home, we find it difficult to manage all the work in the field,” she says. She also has a grandson who needs to be looked after by his mother most of the time.
The woman also revealed that when a few senior women discussed their problems with the village’s Party committee, the cadres not only ignored their plight but also threatened to send them to camps as well.
Most Hui families in the area are in the same boat. Even as the Chinese state continues to attack fundamental human rights of ethnic and religious minorities, the elderly, women, and children have not only been deprived of stable family life but their livelihood as well.
Reported by Li Zaili