UN Official Gay McDougall Speaks on China's Detention of Uighur Muslims

Up to 1 million Muslims or “Uighurs” are detained in Xinjiang, China.

“This is a region of 11 million people who are all on lockdown,” explained UN official Gay McDougall. “Uighurs are essentially Turkish people, and they live there right on the border.”

The area the group lives in is known as the Uighur Autonomous Region. A report by the UN indicated that over the past few years, Uighurs have faced a brutal crackdown from the Chinese government.

“They see the Uighur population as a potential for religious extremism and terrorism,” McDougall said. “So they’ve decided that they need to take all measures that they can whether they comport with human rights standards or not.”

The Chinese government claims those detained are “infected by an ideological illness” and McDougall said the government wants to contain Islam’s influence. She also said baseless police profiling of Muslims is rampant.

“When they’re stopped their phones are scanned, DNA samples are taken, their irises are scanned,” she explained. “They run them through indoctrination camps where—for months, something much longer, a year—people are drilled with doctrine, they are forced to sing songs that praise the Communist Party, they sometimes have to read communist manifestos and they must forswear their Muslim religion.”