By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *


In recent years the Chinese government has detained more than one million members of ethnic minorities such as Kazakhs and, especially, Uyghurs who are a minority of Turkish origin and mostly Muslim composed of more than 10 million people, the largest in the country, which have their own language and maintain a different culture from the Chinese.

These detainees are sent to “voluntary vocational training” centers that, in reality, are “concentration camps, more frightening than prisons,” which promote “repentance and confession,” where rapes, brainwashing and torture are recurring, and the usual sedatives.

This follows from classified documents handed over to a group of media outlets – the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a network based in Washington – whose contents coincide with what witnesses who passed through there had already reported and the satellite images obtained.

Uighurs and members of other jailed minorities are governed by strict rules that regulate, for example, the time to bathe and receive a score that will determine their chances of being released according to how well they have learned Mandarin Chinese, among other «teachings.»

China implemented strict security measures, and religious control, with the excuse of containing a boom in terrorism. Hundreds of Uighurs and Chinese have died in terrorist attacks and government reprisals. Security cameras scattered throughout China and a series of data such as praying and the request for foreign passports are analyzed by computers capable, like nowhere else in the world, of sending the suspect to prison.

For his part, Nicolás Maduro ordered the dissemination of «Bolivarian ideas» in schools and universities in Venezuela. «We will be nothing if we do not keep Bolivar alive in the community, in the streets, in the communes … All dreams would end and the time of despair, betrayal and defeat would come again,» he said.

Now, it is time to be honest because the truth is that Maduro only intends to teach the official history as all States do. To put a case, during the government of Perón in Argentina a text for children was introduced in the schools that assured that: “Perón is a good ruler, orders and orders firmly. The leader loves us all. Long live the leader! ”

Although to the «Peronists» this seems very cool, for the rest it is not. However, almost everyone belives that it is mandatory to teach that San Martin – the general who led the war of Argentine Independence – is the «Holy of the Sword» as if true holiness and the sword were not incompatible. Or he is called the «Father of the Fatherland» what looks exaggerated, even if only if said in colloquial language since, otherwise, it would be idolatry since the Father of the Fatherland is exclusively God for traditional theology.

In any case, why this «education» has to be mandatory, why everyone has to believe that San Martin was a «saint» and «father of the fatherland.» How useful can this be in the development of personal and work life of children? And, even if it was important, why this violation of the human right of freedom to teach -or not- or say or think otherwise should take place.


* Member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Global Prosperity, of Oakland, California