914 China and the Uighurs

Quick question: the last time you did fashion shopping, how much did your purchase cost you? Was it really cheap? Mine was. I bought cargo shorts for $16.95. Three of them cost me fifty bucks … the ones I wore before these cost $69.50 each, in a Sydney shop. But these shorts I bought on the internet, from China. The fashion purchase before that were seven T-shirts for $70, also in a Sydney shop, Giordano … again, a Chinese business. So, why is it that I feel guilty?

Because I think I know what is the right thing to do here ... I have an essay ETHICS in my book en.light.en.ment, where I say:


There is much talk about Donald Trump’s perception of a trade imbalance with China … they flood us with cheap goods, and we love it. At the same time we are aware that China is an undemocratic, single-party dictatorship, where the individual’s rights are constantly compromised and where minority ethnic communities are not only suppressed but crushed. Think Tibetans. Think Falun Gong (persecution)  (organ harvesting)

... and Uighurs.


The reason why I feel guilty about buying cheap Chinese goods - and thus supporting the Chinese economy & government - is spelled out in an article in the SMH by Peter Hartcher about Uighur woman Rebiya Kadeer, who campaigns for autonomy of her people at great cost to her & her family. Her story is shocking.

The woman China wants you to ignore


“You can understand her frustration. More and more of Rebiya Kadeer's family have been rounded up into Chinese Communist Party re-education camps. She was once one of the richest women in China, a successful retail entrepreneur, a member of China's National People's Congress, Beijing's model member of its Uighur minority. 

"Today she lives in exile in America accused of sedition for championing Uighur rights. Thirty-seven of her clan members, including 11 children under the age of 10, are locked up. How many of her family are free? "None," the slight, 71-year old grandmother answers matter-of-factly.


“Most Uighurs live in China's remote north-west province of Xinjiang. They are an ethnically Turkic people who call their land East Turkestan and practice Islam. She's been called the Muslim Dalai Lama.


“More and more of the Uighur people are penned up in the camps, and the Chinese Communist Party doesn't even bother with a legal pretext any more, Kadeer says.


“Beijing has long practiced transmigration - relocating ethnic Han Chinese, the vast bulk of China's people, into Tibetan or regions to overpower the influence of the local ethnic groups and permanently alter the makeup of the population.


“The Chinese authorities may be pioneering a new totalitarianism, uniquely repressive in human history, according to a historian at Loyola University in New Orleans, Rian Thum.


"It's a mix of the North Korean aspiration for total control of thought and action," Thum told the Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, "with the racialised implementation of apartheid South Africa, and Chinese AI [artificial intelligence] and surveillance technology." Thum visited Xinjiang, where outside access is strictly controlled, last year.”