After the Holocaust, we said never again. It’s time to keep that promise in China

Aida Vazquez-Soto

August 11, 2020

In 1945, when the allied forces liberated the Jews from Auschwitz, the world reeled at the horrors laid before us. Starved, shackled, tortured and murdered. Denied basic human decency. “Never again,” we said. 75 years later, that proclamation rings hollow.

The Chinese Communist party is a modern-day, anti-western Nazi party. Its systemic persecution of Uyghur Muslims, whose only crime is the violation of state-mandated secularism, has led to unquantifiable suffering and the decimation of a once-large community. To say it is anything less than genocide is erasure. And while people should be slow to compare disasters and crises to the Holocaust, the situation in China, unfortunately, merits the comparison.

The persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany looks eerily similar to that of the Uyghurs in the CCP’s China. Let’s start with state-coerced violations of religious beliefs. In the early 1930s, it was common for local governments to ban the Jewish practice of shechita. Shechita is the way Jewish people slaughter animals so that the meat is kosher for consumption. These laws limited the ability of Jews to follow Jewish dietary practices, infringing on their religious freedoms.

In China, “re-education” camps regularly force Uyghur Muslims to consume pork and alcohol, in violation of their Islamic faith. Uyghurs in camps are not permitted regular prayer or access to clean water and prayer rugs. Furthermore, public displays of faith such as veils and turbans or fasting during Ramadan are punishable by the Chinese state, on pain of extended stay at said “re-education” camp.

Another component of the religious persecution is the desecration of holy sites. The Nazi regime actively encouraged the vandalism and destruction of synagogues. Local Nazi parties actually ordered the destruction of religious gathering places ahead of the infamous Kristallnacht blitz. In the present, satellite imagery has revealed the Chinese government’s demolition of over 100 Uyghur cemeteries. It’s a symbol that even in death and in God, these murderous governments will not leave these people in peace.

Sterilisation is the next key component of the genocidal state. Sterilisation is a method used to limit the ability of the group to reproduce culturally and religiously through children. The German state under the Nazis quickly established groups to be considered “undesirable” and went to work, sterilizing members of these groups, preventing them from reproducing and having families. These groups included Jewish, Polish, Romani and mentally ill individuals.

Equipped with birth control and hysterectomies, China has pursued a similar policy of sterilization with the Uyghur Muslims, resulting in an 84 per cent drop in birth rates within the community. The CCP has also made significant efforts to encourage Uyghur women to marry Han Chinese men in a bid to force the assimilation of the ethnic minority and erase them from Xinjiang.

Were it not for the shortage of women in China — a by-product of another misguided and evil policy — these women would likely face the same fate as the men from their villages. Psychological torture, though significant and destructive, represents only half of the human rights catastrophe unfolding in China, just as it represented half of the torture faced by Jews during the Holocaust. As in Germany, China presently uses the forced labour of captive Uyghurs to meet production demands.

The New York Times reported that nearly one in five cotton garments sold globally contains cotton or yarn from the Xinjiang region, where Uyghurs have been worked to death. Uyghurs are forced to perpetuate the economic strength of their oppressor as slaves producing the next pair of Adidas sneakers or American-used PPE. It’s not hard to see the parallel to German and European Jews being forced to uphold and support Germany’s military aims through their slave production of weapons and roads.

In July of this year, a video from Xinjiang leaked, depicting Uyghur men and women being herded onto trains to God-only-knows where. It brings to mind the images of Jewish men and women, trapped and starving on trains headed for gas chambers. China and its surrogates have vehemently denied what is plain for the world to see. This is a genocide and they are the perpetrators.

In today’s world, we cannot pretend we don’t see this community being exterminated before our eyes. We cannot ignore the brutality of the Chinese regime. “Never again” means never again. If we continue on our path, we will be proclaiming empty words too late to save the victims of this ethnic cleansing. We will fail to stop the new Holocaust.


  • Aida Vazquez-Soto

    Aida Vazquez-Soto is a development associate at the Tax Foundation. She was formerly a development intern at the Reason Foundation and a local coordinator with Students for Liberty.

Written by Aida Vazquez-Soto

Aida Vazquez-Soto is a development associate at the Tax Foundation. She was formerly a development intern at the Reason Foundation and a local coordinator with Students for Liberty.


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