— Jemima Schoen
On Friday, February 19, the No Place for Hate club presented on the Uyghur Crisis during Skills Lab. They discussed a slideshow presentation developed by the Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom, with whom they have been collaborating. The presentation featured a history and overview of the situation, as well as specific details of the atrocities that the Chinese government commits against the Uyghurs. The presentation included testimonials from Uyghurs who were terrorized by the Chinese government. Presenters also drew on Jewish sources, such as quotes from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, to encourage students to feel a responsibility to the Uyghur people.
The Uyghurs are a distinct Turkic, predominantly-Muslim people living in diasporas in places like Turkestan, Kazakhstan, and Xinjiang, China. In Xinjiang, the Chinese government sends Uyghurs to detention facilities to “reeducate” them. They also sterilize Uyghurs and harvest their organs. Right now, there are three million Uyghurs detained in the more than 380 Chinese facilities.
As information leaks out from totalitarian China, backlash has increased against well-known companies, such as Nike and Disney, that continue to operate in Xinjiang and benefit from Ugyhur labor. Advocates point to the backlash as indicating a turning point in awareness of the situation, and there are now widely-circulated petitions against companies that abuse Uyghur labor and the Chinese government’s mistreatment of Uyghurs for those who wish to take action.
No Place for Hate club’s presentation ended with a call to action, supplying different links for students to use, such as links to the Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom’s campus toolkits, petitions and bills preventing companies from abusing Uyghur labor, and more informational sources. AJA students were encouraged to raise their voices to raise awareness and advocate against the Chinese government’s maltreatment of the Uyghur people.