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News Japan and China’s abuse of the Uyghurs


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Over the past few months, I have been following the developments in Xinjiang with sadness and disbelief. The scale and the intensity of China's assimilation of the Uyghur population are unprecedented, the ruthless hi-tech-supported eradication of their history, language, and cultural properties heart-breaking.

I support the declaration of 39 nations condemning China's human rights abuses and hope that more nations and global enterprises join the protests and boycotts. On a side-note: Islamic nations are conspicuously absent from those protests and show surprisingly little enthusiasm to support their fellow Muslim. The issue poses a diplomatic predicament for Japan, too.

Here is an interesting piece by the NYT on Japan's untenable silence in the face of the Uyghur plight:

I'd be very interested in what our members think about the questions below:
  • How long will Japan's government be able to maintain its "neutrality"?
  • Which will win: commercial interests or human rights?
As in the West, views toward China have hardened in recent years among the Japanese public, not just over Xinjiang, but also Beijing's crushing of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong and its military presence in the seas near Japan.

  • What are your views on China's expansionism (South China Sea, Himalaya, Senkaku, etc.), and how can it be countered?

Disclaimer: This thread is not meant to evolve into China-bashing but born out of concern over the Chinese government's growing belligerence towards its many neighbours and its disrespect for human rights.
Reading the article, I was pleasantly surprised that there had been as much discussion among Japanese politicians as there has been.

Regarding the Uighurs, economics will win out. China is a massive trading partner and Japan's response to problems in other countries that do not affect its national interest is muted at the best of times. At most they will add their name to an international statement if enough other countries do so first.
I liked your reply, @Lothor, although I cant't say I like it. 😅

I wonder how sincere the other 39 nations are in their outrage and commitment. A solidary alliance of democratic nations could make an impression on China and set limits to their expansionist and authoritarian tendencies. Just one across their bows.

History had taught us that appeasement (even for the sake of the sacred economy) doesn't always end well.

Ok, back to daydreaming... :)
I'm expecting the US to sell Taiwan to China under our present leadership. Our government will huff & puff and blow some hot air , but do little or nothing. With all the money China is raking in , selling it's inexpensive goods around the world , they have been able to enlarge all their military forces large enough to take on any and all comers. They have been making efforts to get Russia as a close friend if there's trouble , more than likely , Russia will not interfere with anything they do.
The Japan Uyghur Association, in cooperation with Human Rights Now keeps up the pressure on Japanese companies urging them to check whether their Chinese partners use factories that benefit from forced Muslim minority labour. They criticized 14 Japanese firms for being slow in taking action over possible human rights abuses in their supply chains compared to their global rivals.

The 14 were named last year in a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, which identified over 80 global brands "directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through abusive labour transfer programs." The association said it had sent written inquiries to these companies about how they plan to address the issue. The firms include Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing brand, Sony Group Corp. and Toshiba Corp. All 14 companies except for Panasonic Corp., which gave no response, either denied transactions with the Chinese businesses in question or said they could not confirm if their business partners were involved in forced labour, according to the association and the Tokyo-based human rights group. They added that most companies said they would suspend their operations if human rights violations are discovered in their supply chain.

I'm expecting the US to sell Taiwan to China under our present leadership. Our government will huff & puff and blow some hot air , but do little or nothing. With all the money China is raking in , selling its inexpensive goods worldwide, they have been able to enlarge all their military forces large enough to take on any and all comers. They have been making efforts to get Russia as a close friend if there's trouble , more than likely , Russia will not interfere with anything they do.

Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be true. It looks as if Mr Biden takes a much tougher stance on China than his predecessor.

Meanwhile, an Australian cybersecurity firm found that 900 Japanese nationals are on the so-called "Shanghai list", a list of 90,000 individuals who Shanghai municipal authorities broadly regard as "Uighur terrorists".

Many of the 895 Japanese nationals are simply businessmen who worked in Shanghai or made frequent business trips to the bustling city. [...] An executive of a Japanese electrical equipment company whose name was on the list confirmed the data found was accurate. The executive worked at an affiliated company based in Shanghai at that time and made frequent business trips to and from Japan. "I never suspected I was being checked thoroughly or followed after entering Shanghai," the executive said. "It is frightening to think I was being monitored without my knowledge."

Source: 895 Japanese on Shanghai list of 'Uighur terrorists' : The Asahi Shimbun
Wasn't Suga in hot water today because he referred to Taiwan as a "country"? I think the issue of Taiwan will continue to be troublesome for everyone. It is a defacto country. The Taiwanese see themeselves as proudly distinct from the mainland, if not in ethnicity, then at least in character and certainly in political tradition.

This, coupled with the Chinese treatment of the Uighurs (a situation I know very little about), and increasing restrictions placed on foreign companies doing business in China, will make it very difficult for big corporations to continue to deal with China rationally. It will become too difficult and costly (morally and financially) to continue maintain offices there. Hope there is a diplomatic way to navigate this, but it will be very tricky.
I couldn't agree more! And while I share your hope for a diplomatic and peaceful solution, I believe we have to exert more economic and political pressure to get the message home. We're giving in to the schoolyard bully.

I'm disgusted to see Western and Japanese companies kowtowing to China's increasingly ridiculous demands. I think we have reached the point where business and politics can no longer turn a blind eye to the suppression of people, censorship, agro-colonialism (Africa), and plain old gunboat politics disguised as "wolf warrior diplomacy", all to rake in more profit. Xinjiang is a watershed. Corporations and consumers need to take a moral stand: a company relying on the forced labour of ethnic minorities? Boycott their products. The power is in our wallets.
The whole situation is sick but I don't see any country doing anything to support the Uyghurs unless it benefits them. When was the last time we've seen a country supporting a minority during an ongoing tragedy? Countries preach "human rights" bs all the time but never practice it.
A massive data leak of documents relating to China's detention camps revealed the ongoing suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Thousands of photos and documents were leaked to German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, who works at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington DC. According to Zenz, the Xinjiang Police Files came from an anonymous source who hacked the computer systems of Chinese security agencies. According to Zenz, the source did not ask for compensation.

The documents, analysed by international media such as the BBC, Le Monde, El Pais, and Der Spiegel, refute the Chinese government's claim that the hundreds of camps built in recent years are vocational training centres whose inmates stayed there voluntarily. According to one document, a former party leader of the Xinjiang region demanded in 2017 that "even the slightest attempt at escape should be met with deadly force".

Thirty journalists from 13 media outlets worldwide analysed the files and verified their authenticity. The photos were compared to satellite images, and their metadata was evaluated. In addition, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology and image analyst Hany Farid from the University of Berkeley independently confirmed the authenticity of the photos.

The Chinese government has not commented on the data leak.

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