Look, we realize that 2020 has been an endless fount of good news. Seriously, just the best possible stuff happening, every day, around the world, throughout all of 2020. We gotta bring it down just a bit, though, and focus on some hard truths. Let John Oliver hip you to something tragic: namely the widespread oppression and subjugation of the Uighurs in China.
Okay, shitty irony aside, this has been the worst, most trying year in memory for most of us. There’s more than enough terrible things to worry about at home, but we still shouldn’t ignore injustices happening elsewhere in the world. Oliver does a good job explaining why. China’s been herding the Uighur Muslim population of Northwestern China into internment camps for years, where they’re forced to make products that are then sold around the world—including to America. There are believed to be over a million Uighurs in re-education camps, which would be “the largest imprisonment of people on the basis of religion since the Holocaust,” as an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news clip states in Oliver’s segment. The state keeps constant watch over the Uighur population, and has an absurdly low bar for what kind of actions merit imprisonment. The Uighurs are subject to mass detainment, family separation, forced labor—and people like us, who buy products made in China, including stuff from companies like Nike and Volkswagen, benefit from it all.
Yeah, it’s a tough watch. Yeah, it’s still funny. That’s what Oliver does: raise awareness about how fucked up the world is but in a way that makes us laugh. He’s the best at it, but that isn’t why you should watch this clip. You should watch it to learn more about something Americans remain all too ignorant about.