There is no difference in how Al Qaeda treats non-Muslims and how the Chinese government treats the Uyghurs in Xinjiang in a bid to change their faith and demography, said Albanian historian Olsi Jazexhi. He was talking about his experience of his visit to the Chinese-occupied East Turkestan in 2019 in an interview.
“Apart from mass brainwashing, indoctrinating, and jailing, Uyghurs are being subjected to mass colonisation in Xinjiang by the Han Chinese in order to change the demography of this Muslim majority province,” he said.
“When I was in Xinjiang and I saw what the Chinese were doing to the Muslims, I told them that there is no difference between Taliban, Al Qaeda, and them because of what they do to non-Muslims. I told them you are exactly like them.”
Olsi also claimed that the Chinese government intends to convert the Uyghurs to Confucianism and the Buddhist culture of China.
“In its white paper, the Chinese government says very openly that Islam is a foreign religion and the original religion of Uyghurs was Buddhist. And what the Chinese government is trying to do is convert them to Confucius and the Buddhist culture of China. And this thing is being done in state institutions, schools and museums,” the historian said.
Speaking on his visit to the concentration camp, Olsi said, “When you visit Xinjiang and look outside the camps, things look perfect. You see massive development and you see people working. The image you get is very deceptive.”
“They force you to renounce your religious identity, they force you to eat pork and they prohibit you from praying to Allah. They will force you to shout long live Xi Jinping and long live the Communist Party of China. And they force you not to speak your native language and speak Chinese. And there were not only Uyghurs: China does that to all Muslims living in Xinjiang,” he added.
“The Chinese are trying to forcefully assimilate the Muslims of Xinjiang who are of Uyghur, Kazak, Kyrgyz, and other Turkmen origins. The Chinese force these people to renounce Islam and their Turkic identity. And this is cultural genocide.”
East Turkestan is home to around 10 million Uyghurs, the Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.