China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang continues to make headlines. According to a recent report in Al Jazeera, documents on agricultural development show there is an “active” effort to promote and expand pig farming in the region.
Quoting German anthropologist and Uighur scholar, Adrian Zenz, the report said that agricultural development is part of the so-called “secularisation” policy pursued by China.
Xinjiang’s top administrator Shohrat Zakir had said in 2019 that the autonomous region would be turned into a “pig-raising hub”, a move that Uighurs say is an affront to their way of life.
According to the Chinese-language website Sina, a new farm that aims to produce 40,000 pigs every year is expected to occupy a 25,000-square-metre area in an industrial park in Kashgar’s Konaxahar county, renamed Shufu.
China has been long denying the existence of re-education camps, where the United Nations has said more than one million people have been held captive. Beijing, however, refutes such claims, saying it operates vocational centers that allow it to “retrain” the Uighur population and teach them new skills.
More than one million Uighur Muslims are estimated to be living in detention in “counter-extremism centers” in China’s far west, vice-chairperson of a United Nations anti-discrimination committee had said in 2018, citing credible reports.
Sayragul Sautbay, one of the victims at the camp, recently published a book in which she detailed her ordeal, including witnessing beatings, alleged sexual abuse, and forced sterilization.
She told Al Jazeera how Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were subjected to harassment, including the consumption of pork, a meat that is strictly prohibited in Islam. “Every Friday, we were forced to eat pork meat,” Sautbay said in the interview. She shared that they intentionally chose a day that is holy for the Muslims.
#Sayragul #Sautbay released a book about her experience at Chinese concentration camp (part 1). Chinese Genocide policy against the Native People of #EastTurkistan #Uygurs #Kazakhs #Kyrgyz #Uzbeks and #Tatars #IndepenceToEastTurkistan #FreeKazakhs pic.twitter.com/otlXJ9X6QQ
— FreeKazakhs (@FreeKazakhs) August 20, 2020
“This is part of the attempt to completely eradicate the culture and religion of the people in Xinjiang,” Uighur scholar Zenz told Al Jazeera. He said: “It is part of the strategy of secularisation, of turning the Uyghurs secular and indoctrinating them to follow the communist party and become agnostic or atheist.”