A published New York author whose family fled Communist China was surprised to find herself being force-fed liberal thinking in the United States.
Amelia Pang considers herself lucky that she was born and lived her whole life in the Land of the Free. However, the New Yorker of Uighur descent was recently shocked to discover the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still trying to force her and her loved ones to assimilate to China’s left-wing ideology, even though none of them still live in the so-called Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
“Although I have lived in the United States my entire life, China’s forced assimilation policies still reached me,” she said in an opinion article published by The New York Times. “The reason no one in my family speaks Uighur or celebrates any Uighur holidays is because we are the fruitful result of China’s decadeslong forced assimilation campaigns to create what a Chinese official described as a single state race.”
Eradicating Uighur way of life
Pang accused the CCP’s decadeslong policy to eradicate the native Uighur language, culture, and offspring of leaving her in the dark about her family origins and heritage.
“There are laws that ban schools from teaching in Uighur, and there is, well, racism—Turkic minorities suffer from high unemployment rates in China, as ‘Uighurs need not apply’ signs frequently crop up at job fairs,'” she said. “Hostile policies like these convinced my family that it was too risky to embrace our Central Asian background but now it is no longer a matter of risk: in recent years, identifying as Uighur has become a matter of life and death.”
The United Nations was recently urged to upgrade this form of cultural genocide, which began in 1949, to a complete genocide. According to Pang, German ethnic policy researcher Adrian Zenz discovered forced sterilizations and abortions contributed to an “84 percent decrease in the natural population growth rate in two of the largest Uighur prefectures” between 2015 and 2018.
She made the observation after noticing facial characteristics similar to hers in a photo taken of Turkic men who wore dark blue uniforms at a concentration camp in Hotan, China.
“Scanning the prisoners’ despondent faces, I was startled by their familiar features,” she said. “Prominent cheekbones, round eyes, aquiline noses—my face was in theirs. This photo forced me to come to terms with an unsettling truth.”
Breaking CCP law
The revelation motivated her to reconnect with surviving family members in the motherland but she quickly discovered that merely contacting them was against CCP law.
“Communicating with a person from abroad is one of 48 violations—along with abstaining from alcohol and telling people not to curse—that could land a Uighur in a concentration camp,” she said. “If any of my relatives were not already in camps, my contact with them would surely fling them toward one.”
She was shocked to find the CCP had conditioned Marco and Polo restaurateur Gairatjan Rozi and other Uighurs so much that he instinctively spoke in Mandarin instead of his native tongue.
“My heart dropped,” she said. “Even in Hyattsville, [Maryland] the Communist Party’s forced assimilation policy still held an iron grip on Uighurs.”
She hopes to learn everything she can about her Uighur heritage through taking language classes and reading books about history and culture.
“Fueled by the realization that my family’s assimilation as Chinese is, by extension, complicity in ethnic cleansing, I tried to learn everything I could about Uighurs,” she said. “To my Uighur family in Xinjiang: I am sorry I never knew you, I am sorry I never tried to search for you when I had the chance, [and] I am sorry it took a full-fledged genocide for me to remember I am Uighur.”
Amelia Pang authored the book “Made in China: a Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods.”