Genocide: China Bulldozing Uighur Cemeteries to Make Them More ‘Civilized’ by Frances Martel for Breitbart
The Chinese Communist Party has razed dozens of Uighur Muslim cemeteries in western Xinjiang province to create more “civilized” areas, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported on Wednesday.
China has taken over Uighur burial rites and replaced them with Communist Party-controlled cremations staged in “burial management centers” that ban religious activity surrounding the handling of a person’s remains. Uighur locals and activists have accused China of attempting to erase the ethnic minority’s history and uproot them from their ancestral home.
The Communist Party has also built thousands of concentration camps in Xinjiang holding millions of Uighurs – and used the camps to excuse the replacement of private burials with “burial management centers,” arguing that they are necessary because not enough young men remain free from the concentration camps to help carry bodies and perform burial rites.
Survivors of the concentration camps say Beijing is subjecting Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz people, and other minorities to a host of human rights atrocities, including murder, rape, forced sterilization, and organ harvesting.
The use of government force to kill, sterilize, or rape a people out of existence fits the United Nations international legal definition of genocide.
The AFP’s reporters visit 13 destroyed cemeteries in Xinjiang and reported finding human remains thoughtlessly strewn across the empty plots where tombs used to be. Local officials dismissed concerns about disrespecting the dead, denying that the bones were human (AFP scientific sources confirmed that bone fragments found did indeed belong to people). The news agency found evidence for the destruction of at least 45 Uighur cemeteries:
In Urumqi, the regional capital, a cemetery near the international airport was cleared to make way for an urban “reconstruction” project.
In Shayar, where the local government has built new cemeteries near some of the old sites, an official told AFP the program was aimed at “standardization.”
The rebuilt sites “saved space, protected the ecosystem” and were “civilized,” it said.
“The new cemeteries are standardised, clean, and they’re convenient for residents,” Kadier Kasimu, deputy director of Shayar’s cultural affairs bureau, told AFP.
Uighur families are often buried in the same cemeteries for generations, meaning that the sites serve as historical milestones where individuals can come to study their genealogy and their culture. Uyghur Islamic tradition requires family the have the ability to clean the body, then offer it to family for prayers before ultimately burying the person with their ancestors.