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Pope Francis shouldn't ignore Uyghur genocide

By Abduweli Ayup

July 27, 2022


Pope Francis has arrived in Canada to apologize for the maltreatment of the indigenous people. Sadly, he has never made such an effort to visit Chinese Churches demolished by CCP. Neither has he visited the concentration camps where China has locked up millions of Uyghurs. The Pope has not condemned the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups. According to the report, Pope Francis will again officially ask for forgiveness from the indigenous people of Canada. The Pope has apologized for the genocide committed by the Canadian catholic church in the past, which is the right approach and correct action. He should, however, also do the right thing in China. He should ask the Chinese government to stop the genocide. So far, he has not taken any meaningful action against the genocide committed by the Chinese communist government. Last year in Canada, sixteen unmarked graves of malnourished indigenous children were discovered. It shocked the world. Between the 1970s - 1990s, during Canada's "cultural integration" policy, 14,000 Inuit and Métis children were separated from their families for months and years and sent to Catholic boarding schools to be detached from their roots. In 2022, the Chinese communist government is doing the same to Uyghur children by forcing them to abandon their heritage and accept the communist ideology by removing the root of Uyghur culture. No one knows what has happened to these 900,000 Uyghur kids who have been separated from their families and forcibly taken to Chinese state-run boarding schools and orphanages. China will not allow any journalists to visit these places. It is impossible to mark Uyghur graves, as the Chinese regime has completely demolished and destroyed Uyghur burial sites. Rightfully, the Pope is visiting Alberta, Quebec, and the Northern Canadian lands during his six-day trip. I want to know if he will also visit the Uyghur concentration camps? Will he say something about the destroyed churches in China? Will he condemn the Chinese government for its demolition of mosques and graveyards in the Uyghur homeland? In December 2021, I met with two Uyghur kids who had stayed in Chinese boarding schools for two years. Upon entrance to the school, the girl, Aysu, was six years old, and Lutfulla was 4. Two years later, when their Turkish father managed to rescue them, they had already forgotten their mother language.


Photo: Courtesy of Abduweli Ayup


The children's treatment and experiences in the boarding school were uncannily similar to my imprisonment: The cruel, big bother surveilling every cell, food and sleep deprivation, beatings, and threatening with physical punishment. During the interview with the children, I let them cry while recalling their traumatic memories. How can they ever get over their nightmare?


I am very disappointed by the Pope. During his visit to the unmarked graves in Canada, he should also mention boarding schools in China. He should stress that genocidal boarding schools are still operating, and hundreds of thousands of Uyghur kids are suffering in them. China is eradicating its cultural identity and religious beliefs.


The Pope should stand against the Chinese atrocities. As a religious leader, he should be courageous in front of believers, depend on God alone and speak against the worship of evil, man-made "Communist master". There is no excuse for the Pope to stay silent in front of the ongoing genocide and genocidal boarding schools.


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