Kuzzat Altay, president of the Uyghur American Association, shared his observations about the assimilation of millions of Uyghurs in Chinese concentration camps with students in Dr. Mustafa Gökçek’s Middle East History class and others on Nov. 19, 2020.
Altay, the founder and CEO Cybertek and president of the Uyghur American Association, addressed the current human rights crisis in Xinjiang, where he lived before emigrating to the United States in 2008. He explained that, over the past 10 years, an estimated 1 million Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, have been forced into concentration camps, which China maintains are re-education centers to provide job training and Mandarin lessons to help Uyghurs better assimilate into society. He noted that these individuals, including his own father, who was interned for two years, are sent to the camps for something as simple as having the WhatsApp downloaded on their mobile phones or for practicing their faith. Detainees are held in overcrowded conditions, where forced labor, torture, and indoctrination, especially of children, are the norm.
Altay also spoke out against businesses that depend on goods made in China, noted the severe repercussions on family and loved ones who speak out against the Chinese Communist Party, and shared how Uyghurs are working to raise global support, including advocating for the passage of the Uyghur Labor Force Prevention Act.