The Right’s Blind Spot? – Muslims In China │ Ben Thompson
In writing this article, I don’t intend to paint all conservatives and right-wingers as monolithic thinkers. I’m merely speaking to an unfortunate trend I’ve noticed. Admittedly, it is a trend largely confined to David Vance and Katie Hopkins – hardly intellectual heavyweights – but it is something that needs addressing, nonetheless.
Horror stories have been coming out of China in recent months, detailing the abhorrent treatment dished out to its Muslim citizens. Camps have been set up to try and ‘deradicalize’ the population, with the US State Department estimating that up to 2 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz are being held against their will in Xinjiang.
In these camps, Muslims are being forced into making cheap consumer goods, and are forced to eat pork – a clear violation of their Islamic faith. The camps are trying to ‘integrate’ the Muslim minorities into the fold of Chinese society, forcing the detainees to sing political songs and study speeches of the Chinese Communist Party.
Although I’ve seen many on the Right condemning these travesties, I’ve been disappointed by some of the responses I’ve seen on Twitter.
David Vance, who stood for election for the Traditional Unionist Party in 2010, recently tweeted to his 97,000 followers –
‘Question: In response to jihad attacks, China has banned:
❌ Muslim beards
❌ The name “Muhammad”
❌ Halal signs from restaurants
❌ Ramadan fasting
❌ under 18s in mosques
➕ other measures
Is China correct in associating Islamic practice with jihad attacks?’
To answer Vance’s question, no they are not. To suggest that a state is justified in banning names or fasting is outrageous. Vance is supposedly a conservative, and would usually be expected to be pushing for a small state, no? Yet here he is, backing a Communist government that is launching an outright attack on individual rights.
Katie Hopkins was also feeling rather fond of the Chinese government’s crack-down on Muslims. Responding to a report about the Chinese internment camps, in November 2018 the pundit tweeted:
‘Can a helpful Guardianista give me the latest stats on Islamist terror attacks in China to date?
And a valid reason for why there JUST AREN’T ANY?’
Disturbingly, both Vance and Hopkins received responses that indicated a significant number of their followers agreed with the sentiments expressed. Outright endorsement of internment camps is a terrifying precedent.
It seems many of these suddenly pro-China pundits also fancy themselves as defenders of the Christian faith. The same Christian faith that is being ruthlessly repressed by the Chinese government. Mirroring their treatment of Muslims, the Chinese government had forced churches to hang the Chinese flag and sing patriotic songs.
The Western Right have expressed concern over Islamic immigration into the west for a while now, it’s nothing new. There are legitimate concerns to be had over the levels of extremism, but at no point, should this conversation veer into supporting internment camps.
It’s not only contradictory to an ideology dedicated to keeping the state at bay, but it’s morally monstrous.