Date:  October 1, 2022

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)

Sometimes it seems like the bad outweighs the good, and we see terrible crimes carried out with seeming impunity. 

Yet no matter how insurmountable the evil may seem, we know that God is the ultimate victor and we can trust that his compassion and goodness will eventually prevail.

For years we and many others have been campaigning on the issue of China’s horrific treatment of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups. 

Now, the UN Human Rights Office has finally published a delayed report alleging that this may amount to crimes against humanity – one of the most serious crimes in international law. 

A catalyst for change?

Sexual violence, inadequate food, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, and forced medical procedures including the regular administration of ‘either injections, pills or both’. This is just some of what is happening in the detention centres where China is holding at least one million people, according to the testimony of former inmates. 

China claims these detention centres in the Uyghur region are merely ‘re-education’ camps for those suspected of terrorism. Yet testimony by former camp inmates shows that China makes accusations of extremism on the flimsiest of pretexts – owning religious books, or having a beard, or having family members abroad. 

Witnesses also report that inmates are required to renounce Islam and promise not to follow religion. Uyghurs and others in the region have been forced to eat pork or drink alcohol, against their religious beliefs. 

These are clear violations of everyone’s right to freedom of religion or belief.

We’re praying that this long-awaited report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the catalyst that leads to renewed action by the international community.

Put your prayers into action

Even when someone is released from a camp, the nightmare isn’t over. Many of those released are sent to work in clothing factories that supply well-known brands, including Zara, Gap and H&M; and conditions in these factories are said to be similar to those in the camps.

According to the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour, an astonishing 1 in 5 cotton garments in the global apparel market are tainted by forced labour from the Uyghur region. 

Tell Zara to ensure their products are not made with Uyghur forced labour.

In summary, please pray:

  • That this report will galvanise the international community into demanding an urgent response from China, and that this will ultimately lead to the camps being closed and the inmates being released back to their homes and families.
  • That China will amend its counter-terrorism legislation.
  • That China will also dismantle the extensive and intrusive surveillance system with which it routinely violates human rights in the Uyghur region and across the country.