Satellite photos show China has leveled Uighur graveyards for malls, high-rises

Satellite images show Uighur cemeteries in Xinjiang torn down for Chinese roads, malls, and high-rises

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Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image.

Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A retired Indian Army colonel asserts that based on satellite imagery, the Chinese government is not only oppressing its living ethnic Uighur citizens in internment camps, but it will not even allow the dead to rest in peace as it bulldozes Muslim cemeteries to make way for developments.

On the Indian news site ThePrint, Colonel Vinayak Bhat says that comparisons between satellite images from 2002 and 2019 show systematic destruction of Uighur cemeteries and mass exhumations of corpses to make way for roads, military training grounds, malls, ecological parks, and high-rises. Bhat says that this process has been going on for many years, but it accelerated after the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang's capital city of Urumqi.

Bhat's article focused on the fate of three cemeteries in the Tengri Tagh area of Urumqi City. Two of the grave sites have completely vanished, while a third is slated for demolition soon.


(Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)

The 825-acre northern cemetery has been razed and converted into the Dongshan Ecological Park. Meanwhile, the southwest section of the former cemetery appears to have been taken over by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to serve as a training facility, based on evidence of infantry drills from satellite photos.

The southern cemetery, which once covered an area of 130 acres, has been flattened and landscaped. Signs of a highway, malls, and high-rise buildings being built directly on top of the former cemetery can be clearly seen from space.


(Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)

The third cemetery, located in Kok Tagh, is scheduled for demolition to clear the path for a road, "when the government gives it a nod," according to Bhat.

When the Communist Chinese government is not busy bulldozing Uighur cemeteries, not to mention mosques, historic buildings, and homes, they are giving families a deadline to exhume their loved ones' remains. The families are given a tight deadline to dig up their relatives' corpses and transfer them to smaller "Burial Management Centers" to clear the way for demolition of the old graveyards.


(Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)

Satellite images of an 8.5-acre cemetery located in Keriya clearly show pockmarked graves where the remains have been unearthed. Bhat surmised that locals had dug up the graves to re-bury the remains of their relatives elsewhere, while a city road was paved on top of the site.

In the case of the aforementioned Kok Tagh cemetery, satellite photos show that graves that were once 3 m by 3 m in size earlier in 2016 had been exhumed and relocated to much smaller plots that are only 0.9 m by 0.9 m in size by August 2016.


Exhumed graves in Keriya cemetery. (Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)

Bhat concluded that the new graves were barely large enough to cram a deceased relative into a seated position.


Keriya Cemetary GIF showing exhumed graves. (Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)


(Col. Vinayak Bhat (ret.) image)