Updated: Apr 30, 2021
When the live action remake of Mulan hit Disney plus in late 2020, certain keen-eyed viewers noticed something rather disturbing in the credits of the movie. For a little background, Mulan was shot mainly in New Zealand, but a few of the scenes were filmed in China, more specifically the Xinjiang region. In the credits of the movie, a certain company known as the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee was thanked. Essentially Disney gave a special thanks to a Chinese government agency that is responsible for organizing internment camps for religious minorities and people who disagree with the communistic ideals of the Chinese government. In addition to Disney, companies like Nike, BMW, Apple, Abercrombie and Fitch, Sony, and Samsung have all used Uyger labor as a source for extremely cheap and sometimes even free labor. With so many companies complicit in the extremely immoral practices of the Chinese government the question arises why this is not a bigger issue. The reason is that many people don’t know because the Chinese government actively tries to suppress this topic, and considering the amount of coverage in the U.S., they are mostly successful.
To understand how China was able to get to the point where they have actual reeducation camps, understanding the history of China is important. In the late 1940’s, similar to the USSR, China underwent a communist revolution. Communism is a very radical ideology, and a correlation can often be seen connecting the rise of radical ideologies to genocide or concentration camps. The USSR and Nazi Germany are examples of this type of radical ideology creating immensely tragic citations, and China should be treated no differently. The Chinese government in addition to being communist, is also extremely authoritarian, meaning that people in China have strict restrictions on what they can and can't do. Information is also censored in China, and most people there totally are unaware of a lot of the great tragedies that have occurred there, such as the Tiananmen square massacre, because the government feels like the citizens do not have the right to know. These two factors help explain why the Chinese government has been able to secretly build hundreds internment camps, and those only account for the ones that we know about, there theoretically could be many more.
Another major question is who is in these internment camps. The answer is an ethnic minority group known as the Uyghurs. These are Turkish minorities native to the Xinjiang region, and they are treated very poorly in China mainly due to their religion. People who speak out against the communist party are also frequently sent to these reeducation camps, as well as people that the government view as undesirable. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is remarkably similar to what happen in Nazi Germany, except with Muslims not Jews. This is without a doubt the largest case of civil rights violations since WWII, yet it is an issue that is rarely talked about. It is really sad to think that you could be using a product as you read this article that was made by a slave in a concentration camp in a country that pretends that they don’t exist.
There are many sources of actions that could be taken to help the issue at hand, but the most important is just spreading this information. Most people are unaware of this situation and it is really sad. Other countries also need to start pressing China about this issue, which was something that Donald Trump attempted to do as president, but more still could have been done. Going Forward, we need politicians who will be more stringent when it comes to China’s abuses and not chalk it up to different cultural norms. If no action is taken then the Chinese government will not stop and this atrocity will only get worse. While this issue may seem like a very distant issue for people outside of China, there are things you can do to help. By spreading this information people will be more educated about the issue and it will no doubt become a more talked about issue. In closing, China is systematically breaking apart families and sending people to reeducation camps for their religious or political views and because of that we face one of the largest civil rights violations of all time and the situation will only get worse if action is not taken to intervene and stop it.