‘Uyghur Kids Separated from Parents, Forcibly Assimilated’: Activists Decry China’s Persecution of Minorities – News18

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Ethnic Uyghur demonstrators take part in a protest against China, near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. (Image: Reuters File)

Ethnic Uyghur demonstrators take part in a protest against China, near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. (Image: Reuters File)

Uyghur activists said Uyghur children are being forcibly separated from their parents at a very early age and sent to state-run hostels where they are forcibly assimilated.

Uyghur children in China’s Xinjiang province are being forcibly removed from their parents and sent to re-education camps styled as boarding schools where they are being raised as ‘orphans’, Uyghur activists speaking to CNN-News18 said.

“Their parents are taken away to concentration camps and treated like prisoners. These kids are losing their identity and no one is talking to China except issuing statements,” a Uyghur activist said.

The Uyghur activist also noted that the United Nation expressed concern over the allegations of Xinjiang’s state-run boarding school system where children are taught in Mandarin language and are being forced to adopt Han cultural practices.

“The UN statement is welcome but the UN is not clearly talking about concentration camps.

“We are deeply concerned that boarding schools in Xinjiang are teaching almost exclusively in the official language with little or no use of Uyghur as medium of instruction and that the separation of mainly Uyghur and other minority children from their families could lead to their forced assimilation into the majority Mandarin language and the adoption of Han cultural practices,” the UN experts said this week.

They flagged that forced separations and language policies for Uyghur children carry risk of forced assimilation. They pointed out that the discriminatory nature of the policy and the violation of minorities’ right to education without discrimination, family life and cultural rights will adversely impact the growth of these children.

UN experts found out this week about large-scale removal of children, mainly Uyghur, from their families this week. Among those children, some of them were very young. The parents of these younger children are in exile or “interned”/detained.

These children are placed in full-time boarding schools, pre-schools, or orphanages where the medium of instruction is almost exclusively Mandarin.

“Uyghur and other minority children in highly regulated and controlled boarding institutions may have little interaction with their parents, extended family or communities for much of their youth,” the experts said

“This will inevitably lead to a loss of connection with their families and communities and undermine their ties to their cultural, religious and linguistic identities,” they further added.

The report also revealed that these children placed in these schools have little or no access to education in the Uyghur language. They face pressure to speak and learn only Mandarin as opposed to achieving bilingualism in both Uyghur and Mandarin. Teachers who may inadvertently use Mandarin as a medium of instruction are also sanctioned for using the language outside of specific language classes.


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