The Uyghur ethnic group in China has been subject to widespread human rights violations, including mass detentions, forced labour, and religious persecution. The situation has sparked international outrage and calls for action to be taken to support the Uyghur community. Malaysia, as a predominantly Muslim country with a significant Chinese population, finds itself in a delicate position. On the one hand, Malaysia has a moral obligation to support the Uyghurs. On the other hand, China is Malaysia’s largest trade partner, and any action that offends China could have significant economic consequences. So, with the Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to Beijing on the 1st of April 2023 looming, what can Malaysia do to support the Uyghur ethnic group while not offending China?
One possible course of action for Malaysia is to take a more subtle approach to the issue. This could involve working behind the scenes to support Uyghur rights and freedoms without drawing attention to the issue publicly. Malaysia could use its diplomatic channels to raise the issue with Chinese officials and advocate for more humane treatment of the Uyghur community. Malaysia could also work with international organizations such as the United Nations to push for greater attention to the issue and support for the Uyghur community.
Another possible approach for Malaysia is to focus on economic engagement with China. This could involve expanding trade relations with China and seeking to increase Chinese investment in Malaysia. By focusing on economic engagement, Malaysia could leverage its economic relationship with China to push for greater respect for human rights and freedoms for the Uyghur community. This approach could involve engaging in dialogue with Chinese officials and business leaders to raise the issue of Uyghur rights and to advocate for change.
A third possible approach for Malaysia is to work with other countries in the region to take a coordinated approach to the issue. This could involve engaging in regional forums such as ASEAN to raise the issue of Uyghur rights and to coordinate efforts to support the Uyghur community. By working with other countries, Malaysia could reduce the risk of offending China and increase the likelihood of achieving meaningful change for the Uyghur community.
Whatever approach Malaysia takes to support the Uyghur ethnic group, it is important that the country’s actions are guided by its values and principles. Malaysia has a long history of standing up for human rights and freedoms, and this tradition should guide its approach to the Uyghur issue. At the same time, Malaysia should be mindful of its economic relationship with China and seek to balance its commitment to Uyghur rights with its economic interests.
In conclusion, the Uyghur situation in China is a complex issue that requires a delicate approach. Malaysia can support the Uyghur community without offending China by taking a more subtle approach, focusing on economic engagement, and working with other countries in the region. Whatever approach Malaysia takes, it should be guided by its values and principles and should seek to balance its commitment to Uyghur rights with its economic interests.
President of My Generasi