Authorities in Xinjiang allegedly have hatched a scheming plot to convince UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet, who will be visiting later this month, that Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China’s Xinjiang region are doing well.
Officials in Kashgar are alleged to have paid Muslim Uyghur men to dance in front of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Northwestern China’s Xinjiang region, in celebration of the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr on May 3. On Tuesday, the dance was later documented and published on Youtube by China’s state-run media, China News Service (Zhongxinwang).
The allegation is reinforced by residents who say that people were not allowed to pray at the Id Kah Mosque but were arranged to dance during the Eid celebrations on May 3.
On Radio Free Asia (RFA), a police officer from the Kumdarwaza city police station confirmed that prayers had not been allowed at the Id Kah Mosque since 2016. He said the dance was organized by the residential committee, a Chinese Communist Party organization that oversees neighborhood units in the cities and towns throughout China.
The official, who did not provide his name, also said that housing committee officials told his colleagues that they had brought people to perform the Sama. This traditional Uyghur Muslim dance is usually held to celebrate Eid. According to the officer, the Muztagh and Donghu Housing Committee sent about 500-600 people to perform the Sama dance.
For some time, the Chinese government has continued to deny accusations by the US and other countries accusing them of waging a genocidal campaign against the Uyghurs and other Turkish communities through draconian policies designed to erase the native culture and traditions in the region.
Several US human rights groups have pressured UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the region and released an overdue report addressing allegations of torture, forced labor, and severe rights violations. Right before Bachelet, the Chinese government, which could not be by chance, held the dance, which is certainly seen as the country’s latest attempt to bury allegations of genocide and try to show that people in the region are doing well.
The officer detailed that the Donghu residential committee paid around 120 – 150 yuan (US$18-23) to those who went to Kashgar to dance. A typical worker in Kashgar earns about 250 – 300 yuan per day. Meanwhile, Muztagh’s residential committee did not pay the Uyghurs to dance. He said no one could refuse the housing committee’s demands, especially in the Uyghur community.