The fact not a single leader of a Muslim majority country has spoken out either forcibly or frequently against China’s cultural genocide in Xinjiang, one that constitutes the largest industrial scale persecution of a religious minority since the Holocaust, leaves ordinary Muslims asking what it is they can do to save 12 million of their religious brothers and sisters in China.
Today, upwards of three million Muslims are being held against their will in a network of concentration camps simply because the China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) deems the indigenous population of Xinjiang — ethnic Uyghur — to be a potential threat to its “One Belt, One Road” economic strategy, one that aims to provide Beijing greater access to the Middle East and Europe via exerting its influence and dominance over central Asia.
To attain dominance over this corridor, the CCP is carrying out whatever dastardly deed it deems necessary to ensure nothing or nobody gets in its way, and thus enacting measures that include economic and diplomatic coercion; threat of military force; and the subjugation and eradication of any ethnic or religious minority deemed a potential nuisance.
The respective governments of Muslim majority countries refuse to condemn China out of fear Beijing will exact punitive measures against them, and thus explaining why Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invite and welcome trade and investment deals with the Chinese government at the same time pretending they have no knowledge of Uyghur persecution.
Banning Islam, destroying mosques, and establishing a network of concentration camps are the malicious means in which Beijing is literally making 12 million Muslims in Xinjiang disappear, with widespread accounts of systematic torture, rape, forced sterilization programs, forced marriages of Uyghur women to Han Chinese men, forced adoptions of Uighur children to Han Chinese families, and public executions, alongside evidence pointing to the harvesting of live organs.
So what can the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims do to pressure China into ceasing its grotesque persecution of Uyghur Muslims given their political leaders refuse to offer a solitary word of condemnation?
Well, in the same way a large number of Muslims already support the BDS campaign as a form or non-violent protest against Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights and international law, they and others around the world can also support an economic and cultural boycott of China.
Boycotts work on the logic there is “strength in numbers,” and given Muslims represent 25 percent of the world’s population, while also being major consumers of Chinese manufactured and owned products, the potential power adherents of the Islamic faith hold in regards to exacting economic pressure on China is enormous.
The challenge, of course, is the nature of economic globalization itself, insofar as there are fewer and fewer products that can be identified as being entirely owned and manufactured by a single country, given the supply chain for any saleable widget literally spans the entire planet.
This, however, doesn’t mean China doesn’t have a soft economic underbelly, and where a Muslim boycott could hit China hardest is by specifically targeting Chinese owned global corporations that are viewed by the CCP as vital cornerstones of China’s economy, namely the telecommunications giant Huawei, which posted a record US$8.8 billion profit last year; alongside electronics manufacturers OPPO and Vivo, which represent 5 percent and 4 percent of global Smartphone sales, respectively, together pulling in US$2 billion annually.
Other top revenue earning Chinese owned export brands include Lenovo, Cheetah Mobile, Haier, ZTE, Anker, among others, while commercial airline carriers Air China and China Eastern also make for easy boycott targets for those flying in/out of the country’s major cities for compulsory business purposes, noting that a successful BDS China campaign would also encourage a boycott of leisure travel to the Asian nation.
A Muslim boycott of could also target companies that are “entangled” in China’s campaign to forcibly assimilate its Muslim population, including global brands such as Kraft Heinz Co., Addidas AG, Gap Inc., Volkswagen, Hennes & Maurtiz AB.
A Muslim boycott of China would come at a time when the Chinese economy is as its weakest and most vulnerable in two decades, with the country experiencing a significant decline in exports and steep rise in unemployment. Moreover, China’s soft underbelly is being exposed at the same time US trade tariffs are exacerbating the country’s economic woes.
It’s also worth noting here that the CCP’s legitimacy is currently under immediate and direct threat, given these economic problems are emerging at the same time a widening gender gap, a result of “one child policy,” is making it increasingly difficult for Chinese men to find wives and start a family, a reality that has manifested in the kidnapping and rape of young Pakistani Muslim women at the hands of Chinese criminal gangs.
If the CCP is unable live up to its social contractual obligations, which promises the Chinese people robust stewardship of economic and social life, then the very bedrock of Beijing’s rule will be threatened by internal unrest, which represents the sum total of Beijing’s greatest fears.
Clearly, the economic power bestowed upon 1.6 billion Muslims is sizeable enough to shake the foundations of the Chinese Communist Party to its very core, which would most certainly force a change in the way the country behaves towards Muslims in Xinjiang.
While we all have a collective responsibility to respond to China’s grotesque violations of human rights against the Uyghur, an effective boycott campaign that’s lead by Muslims across the globe has the power to make all the difference.
CJ Werleman, a journalist, published author, political commentator, and columnist for Middle East Eye and Byline Times. Activist against Islamophobia who provides insights into the Israel-Palestinian conflict, injustices carried out against Muslims under the guise of the US’ global war on terrorism, and rising anti-Muslim discrimination. Insights the mainstream media too often ignores.
Courtesy: Extra Newsfeed