Genocide of the Uyghur People

If you have seen Disney’s 2020 live-action movie, “Mulan”, you probably did not realize that it was filmed on backs of the oppressed Uyghur (WEE guhr) people in Xinjiang, China, where this minority ethnic group of Muslims is being detained in concentration camps run by the Communist Party (Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2020).

Similarly, Apple suppliers have used thousands of Uyghurs in forced labor programs in China. In the same way, Nike and adidas have made great gains from the atrocities committed against Uyghurs in China, the largest cotton producing nation in the world, 84% of which comes from the Uyghur region (BBC, 7/23/2020).

According to The Hill (7/23/2020), over 180 human rights groups report that major brands from Amazon to Costco have benefited from the slave labor of the Uyghur people in China. About 1 in 5 garments sold globally contains cotton and/or yarn from the Chinese Uyghur Region, and many of these goods are the products of forced labor.

In the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention, 30-year-old pastor Griffin Gulledge proposed a resolution against the genocide of the Uyghur People of China. Read it here:

The reality is that if Muslims can be persecuted for their beliefs, Christians can be also. That is why one of the most American, and especially Christian, things we can do is to defend the religious liberty of all people. This is one of the missions of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), where I serve as Georgia’s representative.

Southern Baptists were the first denomination to speak out about the atrocities being committed against the Uyghurs by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Our prophetic resolution got the attention of Washington D.C. We also made a major impact on American corporations which profit off the slave labor of the Uyghurs by boycotting viewership of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

As a trustee of the ERLC, I voted to honor Pastor Griffin Gulledge with the 2021 John Leland Religious Liberty Award. I was asked by Brent Leatherwood, acting president of the ERLC, to speak at a ceremony honoring Gulledge

Here is the text of my address, that night: “The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was the Scriptural inspiration for Pastor Gulledge’s groundbreaking resolution  This parable and the Uyghurs show us that God created humans with DIGNITY despite being…”


The Samaritans and the Jews were very different. They were not the same racially or religiously. This led to extreme prejudice.

The Uyghurs and US Christians are also very different, leading many to devalue them, but they are created in “the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, they have tremendous worth.


The Jewish traveler in Luke 10 “fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (v. 30).

The Uyghurs are being persecuted by the CCP with “forced abortions, sterilization, internment in concentration camps, organ harvesting, human trafficking, scientific experimentation, the sale of human hair forcibly taken from those in concentration camps, family separation, forced reeducation of children, the systematic raping of women, and forced labor…”

The Uyghurs are a wounded people who have been left torn and bleeding by the CCP. In a world where damaged goods are discarded, Jesus taught that He highly esteems bruised and broken people.


Just as the Jews and Samaritans were equally guilty under the law of God, we, like the Uyghurs, are condemned without Christ. Yes, the Uyghurs are Muslims, but we too were equally as lost as them, without Jesus. Only by His grace are we saved. They can be too.


The abused Jewish man in this parable had nothing to offer the good Samaritan. The Uyghurs have nothing to offer us, they are impoverished, yet Jesus gave His all on the cross for them and us.


The tortured Jewish man in Luke 10 was ignored by the priest and the Levite (Luke 10:31-32). In the same way, we have turned a blind eye to the Uyghurs. Honestly, I had never heard of them until June 2021 when Pastor Griffin proposed his eye-opening resolution to the SBC in Nashville. We can no longer claim ignorance of their plight.


The brutalized Jewish man in this parable cost the good Samaritan time, energy, and money. To help him was taxing. To be involved with the Uyghurs will be draining to us in every way, but worth it.


The distance from Samaria to Jerusalem is 42 miles, but they were a world apart in Jesus’ day. The distance from Atlanta, Georgia, to China is 7,185 miles, but because of the love of Christ, they are not that far from God. Paul said: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Pray that the Uyghurs will be saved from sin and oppression. DIGNITY demands it.

In Christ’s love,

Jimmy Patterson



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