With a luxury hotel project planned in China's Xinjiang autonomous region on the site of a bulldozed mosque, Hilton Worldwide Holdings is helping Beijing accomplish its genocidal goal against Uyghurs, the US' largest Muslim advocacy group said Wednesday.
In an op-ed, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Ismail Allison, a researcher with CAIR National, said the Virginia-based hospitality company must know about China's long history of repression against the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in the country's northwest.
"If the Hilton Corporation goes ahead with the building of a Hampton hotel on the site of a demolished mosque, they will be assisting the Chinese government in its campaign of cultural erasure against the Uyghurs.
"To assist in the erasure of the Uyghurs is to assist in their genocide," said Awad and Allison in the article.
Earlier this week, a report by the British daily The Telegraph said that China is building a new commercial center, including an upscale Hilton Hotel, on the site where a mosque was initially demolished in Hotan city.
Since 2017, China has carried out massive and systematic abuses against Muslims living in Xinjiang. It is also pursuing a policy of cultural erasure.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimates that 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang have been destroyed or damaged since 2017.
"Destroying a people’s cultural heritage and history makes it easier to destroy the people themselves.
"This is the ultimate objective of China’s mosque and shrine demolition campaign in Xinjiang. They seek to uproot the Uyghurs from their ancestral lands and to strip them of their identity," said the article.
The Muslim organization also started a petition campaign to urge Hilton to suspend its plans to build the Hotan Hampton.
"Hilton has a unique opportunity to take a stand against tyranny and genocide — and the corporation must take it. If not, people of conscience must take a stand against Hilton," said the group.
China's alleged erosion of religious, cultural and human rights for more than 1 million ethnic Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang in the last decade has angered Western countries, prompting sanctions against Chinese officials and firms.
Officials are accused of putting Uyghurs in concentration camps, which China defines as re-education and training centers. Beijing vehemently denies rights violations of its citizens.