Posted by Steve Baroch (Castle Rock High Noon)
Uyghurs are an ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Northwestern China in Central Asia. Most of us in North America are not familiar with this remote people. The Uyghurs need attention and protection more than perhaps any other culture. Recognizing a dire and seemingly hopeless situation, a group from Colorado is trying to bring awareness and assistance to them. Photo credit: Nathan Duddles
From July 12 to August 27 2021, members of “Silk Road Peace Project” will be making the 485 mile trek from Denver to Durango over “The Colorado Trail”.  One of the participants is Castle Rock High Noon Rotarian, Justin Duddles. The goal of the trekkers is to bring attention to the atrocities being committed against the Uyghurs, who number more than 12 million in the Northwest portion of China where they have lived for centuries.  They are being crushed by the Chinese government.  The US, as well as more than 30 other countries, has condemned the Chinese government’s action as genocide.  More than 1 million Uyghur people are being held in “Reeducation Centers” in China.  Many have simply disappeared.  Reports from news agencies such as the BBC tell of “systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture of women detainees.”  There are reports of forced sterilization and there is invasive electronic and video monitoring on a huge scale and suppression of freedom of religion and speech as well as forced labor.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Most people in the camps have never been charged with crimes and have no legal avenues to challenge their detentions. The detainees seem to have been targeted for a variety of reasons, including attending services at mosques; having more than three children; and sending texts containing Quranic verses. Often, their only crime is being Muslim [or being ethnically Uyghur], human rights groups say, adding that many Uyghurs have been labeled as extremists simply for practicing their religion.”  Also, according to the BBC, Agnès Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International has accused Chinese authorities of creating "a dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale.”
Yes.  This is 2021.  Yes.  This is happening right now.
To follow the trek, to support it or to learn more about what can be done to help the Uyghurs, please visit: