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Chinese crackdown on Uyghurs in Xinjiang is being felt abroad, says report

A Uyghur woman (C) walks through a security checkpoint to enter a bazaar in Hotan, in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), May 31, 2019. (File)

BEIJING, November 7: As China’s intense crackdown on Uyghurs continues in Xinjiang, the community in the diaspora is starting to grapple with its trauma, said a media report.

Writing in The New York Times, Amy Qin and Sui-Lee Wee, said that many of the one million or so Uyghurs estimated to be living outside of China cannot freely communicate with relatives back home.
In recent years, the Chinese government has stepped up surveillance and targeted people with overseas connections for punishment. Even now, many diaspora Uyghurs do not know how their relatives are doing, whether they are in an internment camp or a prison or even if they are alive or dead, said the report.
According to the report, in the United States, the Uyghur Wellness Initiative has built a small network of therapists to work pro bono with the community. In Belgium, a Uyghur activist coordinates online training for women, led by counselors who worked with survivors of the Bosnian genocide. In Germany, a group of mental health specialists works with community leaders to tailor government resources to Uyghur needs.
“Some people are emotionally numbing themselves, or pretending that nothing has happened,” The New York Times quoted Nurgul Sawut, a social worker in Australia who has been organizing group therapy sessions for her fellow Uyghurs. Sawut added, “Rather than let the trauma bury us, we want to try to regenerate it, to turn it into something more meaningful.”
Determined to eliminate perceived threats of ethnic separatism, the authorities in China have detained as many as one million Uyghurs and others in internment camps and prisons. They have placed the region under tight surveillance, sent residents to work in factories, stepped up birth control measures for Muslim women and placed children in boarding schools, The New York Times reported.
The report cited that informal surveys which show that many overseas Uyghurs have experienced some form of trauma, depression or anxiety as a result. The coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns have not helped.

Beijing has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and subjecting them to abuse including forced labour. However, Chinese authorities continue to deny all charges. (ANI)