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Category: Unit 2 (Page 1 of 12)

(RAB):Uighur “re-education” camps

                    The topic that I chose to write about for my reflected annotated bibliography is the current tragedy occurring in the region of Xinjiang, China. Millions of Uighurs and muslim minorities have been taken and held in these “re-education” camps. The Uighurs are a turkic muslim group that live in the northwestern territory of Xinjiang, China. The language they speak is an Asian Turkic language similar to Uzbek and most of the people practice Sunni Islam. Uighurs are considered to be one of China’s officially recognized ethnic minorities. They have a significant political importance to China due to the fact it’s been an independent region in the 1940s up until 1949 when China took Xinjiang under their control, ever since then there have been many clashes and incidents of terrorism in Xinjiang, and in other parts of China which was either attributed to or claimed by Uighur extremists. The government in China has blamed the protests on violent separatists groups which is a tactic they would use against Uighurs and other religious/ethic groups across the nation. Since 2017 at least 1 million Uighurs have been interned and since then the number of detainees have grown massively. The Chinese government has claimed that these camps are benign vocational centres teaching useful career skills, but a former camp detainee has described these camps as de facto prisons in which mass brainwashing and obedience to the communist party have been implemented. At first the Chinese government tried to deny that these camps even existed, but they have stopped pretending and now are trying to cast them as “lawful and innocuous”. There have been many leaked documents clearly exposing these detention camps and all the inhumane and unjust actions implemented towards the Uighurs such as torture, forced sterilization of women as a method to reduce reproduction, and forced medication. This is ultimately a mass genocide that needs more attention. I would like to find out how this situation can be brought to justice and how we as Americans can help stop this massacre.

Jack, Victor, and Victor Jack. “I Am an Uighur Who Faced China’s Concentration Camps. This Is My Story.” Varsity Online, Victor Jack, 13 Dec. 2020, www.varsity.co.uk/interviews/19990. 

                  In this article Victor Jack has a discussion with Omir Bekali, an Uighur Muslim who survived his imprisonment, torture, and indoctrination at the hands of the Chinese state. Omi was detained for almost eight months in 2017. In early 2017, life seemed to be going well for Omir, 41 years old, father of three, had a tourism degree, and a small business. He had plans to lead the Kazakh delegation to the upcoming international Astana Trade Exposition. In March of 2017, he took a trip to Xinjiang which seemed totally innocuous, to promote the event. During a post work visit to his family in Turpan, on the morning of March 26th, policemen showed up at his door to arrest him. This was just the beginning to his 8 month journey of “unending physical and psychological torment”. “They shackled my hands and put black fabric [over] my eyes,” Ӧmir says. “I feel my body tremble whenever I remember that moment”. Omir’s parents were Uighur and Kazakh and he was born in Xinjiang. This region has been home to Uighur muslims for centuries, and they make up just under half the population. In 2014, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a “People’s War on Terror” a whole new era of mass surveillance, gargantuan police presence, and arbitrary imprisonment arose. This war on terror was aimed at fighting regional terrorists and separatists. Shortly after his arrest, Omir was thrown into a small police station cell, where he was held for a week, with no explanation. The room seemed to be built for 12 people but had 36 others, everyone including him had their arms and legs shackled. He was then transferred into another police station where authorities tortured him for four complete days. Soon after, Omir was moved to a nearby highly fortified prison camp where he spent seven months locked up with no access to lawyers or phones to contact anyone, still no real reason as to why he was arrested. Then lastly, he was moved to the final destination, the “re-education camps”. Four metre walls with electrical fences surrounding the complex and armed guards patrolling all day and night. The inmates were forced to repeatedly sing songs which praise the communist party, stress China’s greatness, and show gratitude to the president. If the inmates show any sign of discontent, the guards respond with torture. Omir often showed discontent with his arrest and therefore was punished for it, he was beaten half to death, had to stand facing a wall for twenty four hours with no food or water, or placed in solitary confinement. After twenty days Omir was released, his wife had sent countless letters to the UN  and Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan.

                   This article had many details which were very graphic and real. Pictures of Omir’s scars were included that showed the results from his torture. That picture was captioned “Omir shows the scars on his knuckles, which were beaten by hammer-like instruments”. “I did not confess anything because I hadn’t done anything,” he says. “Maybe they thought after torture I would just confess something I [had] never done before”. This system is totally unjust and completely inhumane. To get a bit more detailed and graphic he adds “They put needles in between my nails and my fingers,” he adds, “then they put iron sticks into my sexual organs”. The police also hung him from the roof of the cell by his wrists and later smashed his knuckles with hammers.Omir thought that his regional travel might’ve been what caused suspicion upon him. Prisoners as young as 15 and as old as 80 were cramped into cells, no one was allowed outside. Not only that but iron chains were tied around the prisoners necks to keep them in a hunched down posture, a submissive posture. Another picture was included in this article, it is a side by side comparison of Omir one day before his arrest and him ten days after his release, and truly it is heartbreaking to see, on the first picture he looks well and healthy, he also had facial hair, on the right he looked like a totally different person, it’s clear he’d lost a ton of weight and also looks very aged. The prisoners were constantly warned about 48 characteristics considered hostile to the Chinese state, which include growing beards, praying, and religious charity giving. Omir stresses that he hopes students can organise more protests and raise more awareness. It is clear and evident that these are not vocational training camps, these are torture camps designed to exterminate this ethnic group. 

Kuo, Lily. “Why More than a Million Uighurs Are Being Held in Camps in China.” YouTube, Guardian News, 24 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKpyaDZkNfU. 

             The Guardian News presents a video on youtube in which Lily Kuo, the guardian’s Beijing bureau chief discusses what’s been going on in Xinjiang, China. She says how there have been many people who have had their relatives disappear into camps and we don’t really know what’s happening to them. She includes a clip from the Andrew Marr show where he interviews China’s ambassador about this matter. In that clip, Andrew Marr shows a videotape of Uighurs and he asks “Can I ask why people are kneeling blindfolded and shaven and being led to trains in  modern China?” The ambassador then replies with “I do not where you got this video tape.” Xinjiang is both politically and economically important to China, they have many natural resources and they’ve been taken under their control. These people have been targeted because they’re all seen as potential terrorists or separatists. BBC has satellite data that shows a whole area with suspected camps. To be in Xinjiang means to be checked everyday and to be in those camps means to be tortured in one way or another.

              After watching this video, I had a few questions in mind. Firstly, why the ambassador was denying what was going on when the video was clearly being shown of the detainees. I do believe that the choice of genre does indeed affect the meaning and credibility. With this video format, videos and interviews are shown to further support the author’s topic. For example, surveillance videos were shown, armed guards were shown, military tanks, and footage of security checkpoints. The civilians are checked multiple times a day when they’re going to the market, driving a car, or when they are taking a train, even smartphones are checked. I believe this just violates the right to privacy. Everytime a camera was brought out to film some authority figure would always come and block it or yell “you can’t film ”. Videos of people dancing and playing sports are shown to show what apparently is going in the camps, which is obviously not what is happening. “All I could think of was surviving each day without being killed” says a mother who has survived the camp. Although this may not be a one go genocide it is a slow process one, with IUDs and sterlizations being forced into women, as well as inter-marriage being encouraged, all efforts to reduce this ethnic group.

Oliver, John. “China & Uighurs: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).” YouTube, YouTube, 26 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=17oCQakzIl8. 

           In this video, the host John Oliver discusses his opinions and thoughts on this matter in the show last week tonight on HBO. An ethnic group in Xinjiang, China called the Uighurs have been systematically surveilled and imprisoned in an attempt to wipe the culture off the map. Not only Uighurs have been held but also Kazakhs and other minority groups.  Witness accounts, satellites, and communists party revealed what “seems to be the largest imprisonment of people on the basis of religion since the holocaust.” The Uighurs were being shipped (sometimes not willingly) to work in factories to manufacture products that are being shipped to the United States, products such as masks. Another reason the Uighurs have been widely discriminated against is because they are ethnically distinct from the rest of China’s population which is more than 90% Han chinese. The Han people have held bigoted views about the Uighurs, “ The people from Xinjiang are not very good. Robbers, and thieves.” (said by woman in the interview from 2008 shown in the video) “That is totally not an acceptable way to describe an ethnic group”(John Oliver). All of this was exacerbated by the Chinese government, they encouraged Han people to migrate to Xinjiang with them being favored over Uighurs for top jobs. In 2009, all of this finally boiled over with riots in the capital that killed 200 people, mostly Han chinese. Instead of underlying the complex factors behind the riots, the chinese government painted them as religious terrorism. When China’s president, Xi Jinping came to power, he instituted the Strike Hard Campaign against violent terrorism in 2014. “And think of it as the patriot act on steroids because all of a sudden Uighurs started being treated like they were all potential terrorists” (John Oliver). Xinjiang is one of the most heavily policed areas in the world, the government puts cameras over every house entrance to see who enters and leaves. “…more than 24,000 people were deemed ‘suspicious’ and over 25,000 of them were sent to re-education camps”. There have been many reports of forced abortions and sterilizations of Uighur women, China argues this is all about economic opportunity and an attempt to assimilate a historically ostracized minority. “Assimilation when forced is cultural erasure” (John Oliver). The United States has taken small steps with addressing this issue, the House passed Uighur Human Rights Bill, prodding Trump to Punish China. Although Trump signed he also told Xi Xinping to proceed with building the camps, which Trump thought that was the right thing to do. 

                The author for this video, John Oliver had a unique way of addressing this matter, regardless it was an attention capturing technique. He started off the video with a viral video from an app called tik tok, where a girl started off doing her makeup then quickly changed the topic to address the issue about the Uighurs. It seems to be that the audience Oliver is trying to reach are the younger generation such as teens. When Oliver stated “ Seems to be the largest imprisonment of people on the basis of religion since the holocaust”, it was an eye opener because this just goes to show how severe this situation is. It was mentioned in the video that a few years ago a Chinese reality show went to Dubai and state TV centered all depictions of the women wearing the headscarf in the most bizarre ways, making a mockery of them by covering their scarf with animated helmets or spiky yellow hair, a lady in the clip of the show shown was entirely covered in an animated cactus. 

            In 2009 when the riots in the capital of Xinjiang occurred, I connected this to the black lives matter movement, when protests, rioting, and looting took place it was a controversial topic. It was controversial due to the fact that some people said the looting wasn’t necessary because small businesses were being harmed, others justified this by saying after all this time of staying quiet people finally fought back so nothing should be argued against. When Oliver spoke about the Xinjiang government placing surveillance cameras over every entrance it made me wonder how the people might be feeling, possibly feeling like they have no freedom whatsoever and always watching their move, and forcing themselves to be self aware of every action they partake in. From a CBSN interview shown in the video, this man says “some people, before they commit murder, already show they are capable of it. Should we wait for them to commit a crime, or prevent it from happening..” They were thrown in camps despite having committed no crimes.

              The Uighurs were held extra judicially for the most innocuous things such as growing a beard, fasting, or applying for a passport. Oliver talks about the leaked documents exposing certain conditions in the camps “students may not contact the outside world apart from during the prescribed activities…strictly manage and control student activities to prevent escapes.” From a BBC interview a former internee woman describes her experience when using the bathroom “They tell you quick, quick, quick, if you’re not quick enough they shock you with an electron baton on the back of your head it really really hurts. And they did it alot.” even after all that they had to thank the teacher and apologize, which I find to be totally uncalled for and unnecessary. They have made Uighurs travel 100s and 1000s of miles from home to participate in forced labor, and the chinese media argues that this is positive because  it is“distancing them from religiously extreme views and educating them”. The Uighur people have been working in factories that supply Nike and Volkswagen, the CEO of volkswagen has said in an interview that he hadn’t heard anything about the forced labor going on in the factories supplying his company, which I think is hard to believe and insane since China is the supplier for many products across all maps. The entire global community should be doing more, the U.N should have private investigators, governments around the world should be speaking about this without bending to China’s economic influence, and big multinational companies should be using their leverage to end the abuse from China’s government. 

Ramzy, Austin, and Chris Buckley. “’Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2019, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html. 

            In this New York times post, more than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. In Hong Kong, a group of students came home at the end of their semester to finally reunite with their families, just to find their parents, neighbors, and relatives missing. All of them were locked up in the detention camps. Local officials were sent to corner returning students to try and keep them quiet. In one of the leaked documents it had stated “They’re in training school set up by the government.” This was the answer officials were to tell students if they asked about them. The officials would also say that their relatives are not criminals but they also can’t leave the school. The documents included questions and answers, in one of the sections, a threat was included stating students were to be told that their behavior could either shorten or extend the detention of their relatives. The communist party has rejected international criticism of the camps and described them as “job-training centers” that use mild methods to fight islamic extremism. The drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and other terrorist attacks abroad heightened the leadership’s fears and aided in creating the crackdown. When the crackdown plan began, there were many doubts and resistance from local officials who feared “it would exacerbate ethnic tensions and stifle economic growth.” Chen Quanguo, a zealous new party boss for the region responded by purging officials suspected of getting in his way. For example, he jailed a county leader after finding out released thousands of inmates from the camps. The documents include 96 pages of internal speeches by Mr.Xi, 102 pages of internal speeches by other officials, 161 pages of directives and reports on the surveillance and control of the Uighur population in Xinjiang, and 44 pages of material from internal investigations into  local officials. These papers were brought to attention by a member of the Chinese political establishment in hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, such as Mr.Xi from “escaping culpability for the mass detentions. The government sends Xinjiang’s brightest Uighur students to universities across China, with the goal of training a new generation of Uighur civil servants and teachers loyal to the party.  Many of the Uighurs had questions such as when will my relatives be released? If this is for training why can’t they come home? Can they request a leave? The guide responded with firm answers telling students that their relatives have been infected by the virus of Islamic radicalism and must be quarantined and cured. Mr.Xi claimed that violence was spilling from Xinjiang into other parts of China and could taint the communist’s party image of strength, unless the threat was extinguished. 

              The authors of this article went into detail with explaining what the leaked documents were translated to and also included images to explain certain details. My first reaction to this article was that it was pretty lengthy but later realized all the details were vital in order to understand the harshness of the reality of the situation. “The document warned that there was a ‘serious possibility’ students might sink into ‘turmoil’ after learning what had happened to their relatives. It recommended that police officers in plain clothes and experienced local officials meet them as soon as they returned to show humane concern and stress the rules” My initial reaction to this was that all empathy shown was purely fake and just a way to manipulate the people into remaining quiet and calm about the news.  A picture was included in the article captioned “A restaurant in the old city of Yarkand in August. Above patrons a propaganda poster is quoting Xi Jinping: Every ethnic group must tightly bind together like the seeds of a pomegranate.” This is just forced assimilation and the image looks eerie. The question and answer guide in the document starts off by stating that there is no need to worry but that seems impossible due to the fact that all their relatives and neighbors have disappeared without a notice. 

                 In one of the documents it states “Tuition for their period of study is free and so are food and living costs, and the standards are quite high..even better than the living standards back at home” This seems as if they are glorifying the conditions of the camp to help the people feel at ease but if it were me reading that I’d be frustrated trying to understand why exactly my family have been taken away and how soon they can come back. “If they don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism,” one answer said, citing the civil war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State. “No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study.” Even the elderly that showed no signs of being a threat were taken and surveillanced. I don’t believe that can be truly justified for being a positive thing.  “The authorities appear to be using a scoring system to determine who can be released from the camps: The document instructed officials to tell the students that their behavior could hurt their relatives’ scores, and to assess the daily behavior of the students and record their attendance at training sessions, meetings and other activities.”  Officials were told to say family members including you must abide by the state rules and laws and not believe in or spread rumors, and only then they can add points for their relatives, they can only leave if they’ve met the course completion standards. The scoring system slightly reminded me of the holocaust in which numbers were used to identify the people instead of their names which is immensely dehumanizing.  “… A 10-page directive in June 2017 signed by Zhu Hailun, then Xinjiang’s top security official, called recent terrorist attacks in Britain “a warning and a lesson for us.” It blamed the British government’s “excessive emphasis on ‘human rights above security’…” This is clear evidence that just goes to show that human rights are put beneath other things as if it isn’t a natural right every human should have.

              The sources I have identified were two videos and two articles, both containing detailed explanations about the internment camps and the horrifying tortures going in them. My understanding on this topic has definitely expanded by a ton, I was able to read/hear about people’s personal experiences from the camp. I was also able to learn about the history of the Uighur people and the land that they live on. As well as why exactly they were being targeted. There were many connections I made through my research of this topic, such as the holocaust and the black lives matter protests. Islamophobia has been deeply rooted into some people ever since the 9/11 attacks, but targeting innocent people and trying to force an extinction of a certain group is severely unjust and most definitely genocide. This knowledge is vital because many people need to be aware of all the human rights crisis going on in the entire world, although it is not affecting us directly, in some way it still is, and raising awareness is a step closer to being able to help the people suffering. I believe that anyone who has social media or even a phone should know about this, the reason why is because social media is a great platform to spread awareness about issues like this, the more attention it has, bigger platforms see it and spread it from there, then higher authorities can address it and help.

Julian Martinez Unit 2 Final

Julian Martinez

Unit 2 Final

Video games have always been a method of fun and entertainment for me since I was a child. When I was younger I was so happy after school because I could go to the nearby video game store. I was able to look on the shelves and see all these games that I would put on my wish list for future birthdays. Playing the demo games in the store was so exhilarating, to be able to play from a video game console that I have never played before was a foreign delight for me. Then when I went home I would immediately finish my homework to hop on my video games.
I played on to the next morning at some points having fun with my friends online made video games even more fantastic. This ability to laugh and play against my friends from school just by sitting down in my own house was unbelievable. Personally, video games have been there for me when I did not want to verbally express my feelings. My father may not have liked this habit that I loved so much but I pursued it anyway no matter the criticism. To this day I still play video games and I’m getting better, whether it hand-eye coordination or problem-solving skills, video games have really improved my brain functions. But are video games really good for you? This is what I’m trying to discover and we will see with the following articles I will provide below.
Fleming, N. (2013, August 25). “Why video games may be good for you.” https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20130826-can-video-games-be-good-for-you
In video games, there are multiple levels of difficulty. These can be used to stimulate the brain for problem-solving situations. This article from BBC underwent an experiment and found out this. “Part of this has stemmed from the fact that 20th-Century video gaming research often failed to distinguish between game genres. Studies lumped together the different brain processes involved when racing cars, shooting baddies, street fighting, and completing puzzles. But with the benefit of hindsight, researchers now recognise they hold only limited insights into the impacts of video games. Bavelier stumbled upon the particular effects action games may have on the brain by accident. She was designing a test to probe the effects of congenital deafness on visual attention, and while trialling it a young researcher in her department, Shawn Green, and his friends repeatedly scored far higher than expected. Eventually they realised their exceptional performance could be traced to their fondness for the action games Counter-Strike and Team Fortress Classic.Bavelier and Green hypothesised that this type of game had distinct effects on the brain because achieving a high score requires players to react quickly, while processing information in their peripheral vision, multi-tasking, making predictions and processing the constant player feedback. In research published in 2003, they used a series of visual puzzles to demonstrate that individuals who played action games at least four days per week for a minimum of one hour per day were better than non-gamers at rapidly processing complex information, estimating numbers of objects, controlling where their attention was focused spatially, and switching rapidly between tasks.Was this cause or effect, though? Were the games improving people’s focus or were people with good attentional focus simply more likely to play action video games?, Bavelier and Green asked non-gamers to play the first-person shooter game Medal of Honor for one hour a day for 10 days, and found their ability to focus on environmental cues improved much more than those in a control group who played the classic puzzle game Tetris. Additional tests from other researchers came to similar conclusions. For instance, Joseph Chisholm, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, Canada, found action video game players were better able to identify distraction and quicker to return their focus to the main task.Bavelier wanted to pin down more precisely why action gamers appear to have better focus. She placed electroencephalography (EEG) headsets on gamers and non-gamers, and asked them to watch a screen on which three rapid sequences of letters appeared simultaneously. They were told to focus on one of the three and press a button when numbers appeared, while ignoring distractions. The EEG headsets tracked electrical signals in the brain, allowing Bevelier to measure how much attention the volunteer was allocating to the task and to the distraction. Gamers and non-gamers were equally able to focus their attention on the target sequences, but the gamers performed better and had quicker reaction times. “The big difference was action video gamers are better at ignoring irrelevant, distracting visual information, and so made better decisions,” she says.Her team has also shown that action gamers may have stronger vision. They can better distinguish between different shades of grey, called contrast sensitivity, which is important when driving at night and in other poor visibility situations, and is affected by ageing and undermined in those with amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. They also have better visual acuity, which is what opticians measure when they ask you to read lines of ever smaller letters from a chart at distance.Bavelier found action video games could also improve the vision of non-gamers. She asked groups of non-gamers to play 50 hours of Unreal Tournament 2004 or Call of Duty 2, or to play the slower, non-action game, The Sims 2, over nine weeks. By the end of the study, the contrast sensitivity of those who trained on action games had improved more than those who played The Sims 2, and the benefits lasted for at least five months. Other researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that adults with lazy eyes who spent 40 hours playing video games with their good eyes patched could improve their ability to distinguish smaller letters on such charts. The higher scores were not seen in those asked to do other visually demanding tasks such as reading and knitting with their good eyes patched.” This shows that through an experiment it was proven to show that people who did not play video games had their vision improve. Also compared to people who did not play video games, video gamers had proven better reaction timing. All of these reasons clearly show why video games are actually good for you.
Vince. (2018, May 9). “Yes, Video Games are Good…for Your Mind and Body”
Video games can also improve physical health in games like Wii Fit that actually make you move your body and exercise to complete the levels. This article states these specific physical benefits video games can have on a person. “How else are video games good for you? While they can “make your brain bigger,” they can also help you shrink the waistline, for starters. Exergames like the Wii Fit have experienced a huge resurgence in the last ten years thanks to companies like Nintendo and Konami. How? Load up a session of Dance Dance Revolution and stomp out a dance routine—or better yet, plug in a Wii Fit and you’ll see exactly what we are talking about. Exergames and fitness video games have revolutionized exercising in surprisingly positive ways. Really, it’s the convenience that makes such games so appealing, as they offer an easy way to “get to the gym” without physically going to the gym. And for kids and parents with busy schedules, such games provide a quick way to get in 30 minutes of activity and exercise. Exergames get players up and moving, helping with circulation, joint flexibility, coordination, and balance. And thanks to technology, many of these same games track your progress, through your number of repetitions, and even help you set goals to keep you motivated—all without the commitment of a gym membership.” This shows specifically that video games can improve your overall physical health without having to pay money to go to the gym. Having this benefit with video games gives the average person a fun experience with real benefits. Video games have also been proven to help people solve real-world problems as explained in this article. “Games can also teach problem solving and strategy, making them valuable tools for kids and teens. For instance, Minecraft offers a number of educational benefits, like teaching kids how to use objects to explore environments and solve problems, while games like Civilization and SimCity teach problem solving on a more “global” level. (View our entire list of best video games for kids.) In SimCity, players lay out and plan a city, and must think ahead to consider how something like the tax rate may help or hurt the growth of their city, or how street planning and certain zones may impact growth. The game also teaches resource management and planning on a basic level, and it does a nice job of explaining these concepts to younger gamers. Learning and developing these types of strategies can be directly applicable to life as well. Last, an indirect benefit is the fact that several video games are based on real historical events, and can encourage kids to find out more about the world that came before them through research and reading.” This video game shows that there is an improvement in real-world problem-solving skills when even children play them. This is an important skill to have at a young age because recourse management can be very useful in real-world survival situations or even jobs that require this skill.
Head, R. (2020, March 20). “10 Reasons Why Playing Video Games is Good for Your Brain”

10 Reasons Why Playing Video Games is Good for Your Brain

Video games have also been proven to improve memory skills in the brain. Memory is an extremely important skill to have in life, it is the basis of knowledge before anything. And this article will show why video games improve it. “Many video games require some serious strategy and concentration. If you have ever built your own civilization in Minecraft or fought for your life in Fortnite, you know how important it is to remember where you found specific resources or where you need to go next. With 3D graphics and immersive audio, video game environments are extremely rich in stimuli. Navigating the virtual world of video games is now very similar to navigating the real world. In fact, exploring video game universes can have a positive impact on memory in your everyday life. When you must juggle multiple tasks and goals while navigating a virtual space, you are exercising your hippocampus. This is the part of the brain responsible for converting short-term memory to long-term memory, as well as controlling spatial memory. When you keep your hippocampus in shape, you will see improved long-term memory and be better at navigating physical space. If you are prone to getting lost on your way to the store, video games may be able to help improve your memory for directions. A 2015 study from the University of California, Irvine provided evidence for the cognitive benefits of playing video games when they tested a group of gamers and a group of non-gamers in memory tasks. Those who frequently played complex 3D video games performed better at memory tasks related to the hippocampus than those who did not play video games or those who played only simple 2D games. The study also showed that when non-gamers played a complex 3D game each day for 30 minutes, their memory improved over time. As a person ages, their memory naturally declines. Regular video game play may be a great way to keep your mind sharp even as you get older, so you will always be able to find your car in the parking lot or remember how to get to your friend’s house.” This shows through an experiment that people who played video games had better memory skills compared to people on campus who did not play video games.
American Psychological Association. (2013). “Video games play may provide learning, health, social benefits”.
Video games have also been proven to show an improvement in social skills. Social skills are very important in the real world for many reasons, this article will show how video games improve social skills. “Perhaps the biggest difference in the characteristics of video games today, compared to their predecessors of 10 to 20 years ago, is their pervasive social nature. Contrary to stereotypes, the average gamer is not a socially isolated, inept nerd who spends most of his (or her) time alone 72 January 2014 ● American Psychologist loafing on the couch (Lenhart et al., 2008). Over 70% of gamers play their games with a friend, either cooperatively or competitively (Entertainment Software Association, 2012). For example, World of Warcraft—a multiplayer fantasy game set in a massive virtual world— boasts12 million regular players, and Farmville— one of the most popular social networking games on Facebook— hosted over 5 million daily users in 2012 (Gill, 2012). In these virtual social communities, decisions need to be made on the fly about whom to trust, whom to reject, and how to most effectively lead a group. Given these immersive social contexts, we propose that gamers are rapidly learning social skills and prosocial behavior that might generalize to their peer and family relations outside the gaming environment (Gentile & Gentile, 2008; Gentile et al., 2009). Players seem to acquire important prosocial skills when they play games that are specifically designed to reward effective cooperation, support, and helping behaviors (Ewoldsen et al., 2012). One study that summarized international evidence from correlational, longitudinal, and experimental studies found that playing prosocial video games consistently related to, or predicted, prosocial behaviors (Gentile et al., 2009). More specifically, playing prosocial games led to causal, short-term effects on “helping” behaviors, and longitudinal effects were also found, in that children who played more prosocial games at the beginning of the school year were more likely to exhibit helpful behaviors later that year. It may be tempting to conclude from this work that games with exclusively nonviolent, prosocial content lead to prosocial behavior. But compelling work is just emerging that seems to refute this simple interpretation, suggesting that violent games are just as likely to promote prosocial behavior. The critical dimension that seems to determine whether violent games are associated with helping, prosocial behavior versus malevolent, antisocial behavior is the extent to which they are played cooperatively versus competitively. For example, players who play violent games that encourage cooperative play are more likely to exhibit helpful gaming behaviors online and offline than those who play nonviolent games (Ferguson & Garza, 2011), and playing violent video games socially (in groups) reduces feelings of hostility compared with playing alone (Eastin, 2007). Likewise, violent video games played cooperatively seem to decrease players’ access to aggressive cognitions (Schmierbach, 2010; Velez, Mahood, Ewoldsen, & Moyer-Gusé, 2012). Two recent studies have also shown that playing a violent video game cooperatively, compared with competitively, increases subsequent prosocial, cooperative behavior outside of the game context (Ewoldsen et al., 2012) and can even overcome the effects of outgroup membership status (making players more cooperative with outgroup members than if they had played competitively; Velez et al., 2012). Conversely, recently published experimental studies (Tear & Nielsen, 2013) suggest that even the most violent video games on the market (Grand Theft Auto IV, Call of Duty) fail to diminish subsequent prosocial behavior. All of these studies examined immediate, short-term effects of cooperative play, but they point to potential long-term benefits as well. The social benefits of cooperative versus competitive game play need to be studied longitudinally, with repeated assessments, to have clearer implications for policy and practice. Social skills are also manifested in forms of civic engagement: the ability to organize groups and lead likeminded people in social causes. A number of studies have focused on the link between civic engagement and gaming. For example, one large-scale, representative U.S. study (Lenhart et al., 2008) showed that adolescents who played games with civic experiences (e.g., Guild Wars 2, an MMORPG, or massive multiplayer online role-playing game) were more likely to be engaged in social and civic movements in their everyday lives (e.g., raising money for charity, volunteering, and persuading others to vote). Unfortunately, as is the case with most survey studies in the field, this study did not differentiate the causal direction of effects.” This shows that video games have helped people with social skills, even when the game is violent it has shown to help the player with their overall social skills.
To that end, video games have proven to be good for you after all. Video games have multiple benefits for the gamer or non-gamer, such as improvements in memory, social skills, physical health, and real-world problem-solving skills. My thoughts on video games have expanded to an even greater length now. I have learned that anyone can gain benefits from playing video games, even me who has personally played video games for 16 years. I will be learning more about video games the more I play them every day and getting gaining benefits as I go on. This new information on the benefits of video games is important because it gives the impression to anyone who wants to play video games, or think video games are bad for you, the proven evidence that video games have way more pros than cons. Having the ability to gain real-world problem skills can take the importance of video games all the way up to studying a class for free. Memory skills gained from video games are an extremely crucial skill because it gives the gamer the ability to improve memory in real-life situations and not just the game. Having memory skills in the real world will help with seemingly everything there is to encounter. The people I recommend video games to is anyone who wants to be entertained and gain knowledge and skills for life.

Unit-2 about Uighur Muslim being held in the re-education camp in China.

“Uighur crackdown: ‘I spent seven days of hell in Chinese camps’.”

By Abdujalil Abdurasulov, 12 February, 2019. 

BBC News, Almaty.


In the article Aibota Serik says her father has disappeared into china’s network of detention centres. The Chinese government calls them free “vocational training centres”, Aibota Serik, a Chinese Kazakh whose father was sent to one, calls them prisons. Aibota Serik’s father Kudaybergen Serik was a local imam in Tarbagatay (Tacheng) prefecture of China’s western Xinjiang region. In February 2018 the police detained him and Aibota hasn’t heard from her father since then. She says,  I don’t know why my father was imprisoned. ” He didn’t violate any laws of China, he was not tried in a court,” clutching a small photo of him, before breaking down in tears.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has heard there are credible reports that around one million people have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang, China. Almost all of them are from Muslim minorities such as the Uighurs, Kazakhs and others. There are more than a million Kazakhs living in China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands moved to oil-rich Kazakhstan, encouraged by its policy to attract ethnic Kazakhs. Today, these people feel cut off from their relatives who stayed in China. 

Nurbulat Tursunjan uulu, who moved to the Almaty region in 2016, says his elderly parents are unable to leave China and come to Kazakhstan because the authorities took away their passports. In the picture he is holding his parents pictures in his hand.  Another petitioner, Bekmurat Nusupkan uulu, says that relatives in China are afraid to talk on the phone or on the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat. He also said that his father-in-law visited him in February, 2018. From that place (Kazakhstan) he called his son who’s name is Baurzhan in China and asked him how he was and so on. Shortly after that his son Baurzhan was detained. He was told that he had received phone calls from Kazakhstan two or three times and that’s why he  was sent to a political camp. 

They are putting these Uighur people in the camp without any due process rights – neither charged nor put on trial – and have no access to lawyers and family.  Orynbek Koksybek is an ethnic Kazakh who spent several months in camps. Koksybek says he spent seven days of hell. His hands were handcuffed, his legs were tied. They threw him in a pit. He raised his both hands and looked above. At that moment, they poured water and he started screaming. “ I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t know how long I was in the pit but it was winter and very cold. They said I was a traitor, that I had dual citizenship, that I had a debt and owned land.” None of that was true, he says. He is being accused for what he never had done.  A week later Mr Koksybek was taken to a different place where they forced him to learn chinese language and songs. He learnt Chinese songs and language. He was told he would leave if he learnt 3,000 words. In China they call it re-education camps to teach people but if they wanted to educate, why do they handcuff people? They detain Kazakhs because they’re Muslims. China’s aim is to turn Kazakhs into Chinese. They want to erase the whole ethnicity. This article shows how In the re-education camp in China people such as Uighur and Kazakhs are being tortured and getting punished. 

“I am an Uighur who faced China’s concentration camps. This is my story.”

 Victor Jack, friday october 16, 2020. (Varsity.co.UK)


This article is about an Uighur Muslim Omir Bekali, a 41 years old man  who’s exposing the china re-education camp by telling his own experience in the re-education camp. In the article Victor Jack was taking an interview with Omir Bekali an Uighur Muslim who recounts his imprisonment, torture and indoctrination at the hands of the Chinese state. In early 2017, Omir had a good life. He is a proud father of three kids, he had a Tourism degree, a small business and several managerial positions under his belt. Omir was planning to lead the Kazakh delegation to the upcoming international Astana Trade Exposition, an event which typically draws in millions. But in march to promote the event he took a trip to Xinjiang, northwest China. During a short post-work visit to his family in nearby Turpan, on the morning of the 26th March, policemen showed up at the door to arrest him. This was the beginning of his eight month journey of unending physical and psychological torment. Omir says, “They shackled my hands and put black fabric [over] my eyes,” Ӧmir says. “I feel my body tremble whenever I remember that moment”. Omir was born in  Xinjiang, China and he is from an Uighur family. Economic, cultural and religious discrimination against Uighurs had been brewing for decades. In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new “People’s War on Terror” aimed at fighting regional ‘terrorists’ and ‘separatists’.

After Omir got arrested without any explanation, he was thrown into a small police station cell. Omir  says the room seemed to be built for 12 people, but contained more than 36 others like him, had their arms and legs constantly shackled. Then he was transferred to another police station where he got tortured by the authorities for four complete days. Omir explained the torture he got in the police cell by saying that “They put needles in between my nails and my fingers,” he adds, “then they put iron sticks into my sexual organs”. His feet and his  hands were tied up with iron shackles and he also got beaten in the cell. They beat his  hands, his feet, his back and his stomach”. Omir says he was put into a ‘Tiger Chair’ for long periods, a metal seat-like contraption which restricts movement. Police also hung him from the roof of the cell by his wrists so his feet could not touch the floor, and later smashed his knuckles with hammer-like instruments. In the picture the scars are still there on his hand. Omir says “I did not confess anything because I hadn’t done anything,” he says. “Maybe they thought after torture I would just confess something I had never done before”. After spending seven months locked up with no access to lawyers, no phones or communication with his family and without any explanation of his arrest Omir was moved to a nearby, highly-fortified prison camp. 

In November 2017, Omir was transported  to his final destination (the re-education camp). There are 40 people in a 16 square-metre room. Prisoners as young as 15 and as old as 80 are placed into these cramped cells. Twenty-four hours a day, prisoners are shackled. Iron chains are tied around their necks, fixed to lose iron blocks that Omir says weigh around eight to ten kilograms, forcing prisoners to always be hunched down. He stayed in that room with lots of different people, some of them are businesspeople, historians, school professors, writers, singers and many others.they speak much better Chinese than Chinese people themselves  and they have more money than Chinese themselves. This shows that  they don’t need to be re-educated. They are then forced to repeatedly sing songs which praise the Chinese Communist party, stress China’s greatness, and show gratitude towards President Xi Jinping personally. Prisoners are constantly warned about 48 characteristics considered hostile to the Chinese state, which include growing beards, praying and religious charity-giving. The aim of these drills is clear, Omir says: “become Han Chinese … forget your religion, forget your culture”. If you don’t listen to them you will get punished and tortured to death.

As Omir often expressed his discontent with his arrest, he found himself tortured and beaten half to death. They made him stand facing a wall for twenty-four hours without food or drink on some occasions. In the article there is a picture of Omir one day before he got arrested and ten days after he got released from the camp and the changes of Omir face in the picture shows the tortured he faced in the camp and how these tortures have affected his health. Omir says in his statement that “The Chinese government calls them re-education camps. Actually there are no re-education camps – all are concentration camps.” After 20 days, Omir was finally released. Omir says he doesn’t know in the future he can get back into his normal life but he is hoping that students can organise more protests, write more news about Uighurs, and raise the awareness of the general public. This article proved that these re-education camp made to torture to death the Uighur Muslim people not to re-educate them. 





Unit 2 Project

Jade Wearing

Eng 1101-OL10

Professor Edelson

Unit 2 project

The impact of video games on people’s lives

Video games has been something that has been around for a while now and it always had some sort of impact on people’s lives whether it was a major one or a minor one. Throughout the years, video games have grown into something much bigger that has been attracting people more and more. Video games, video game consoles, and the video game industry as a whole, have evolved and developed cool attractions towards it that impacted the way people view and play video games, and it is evident that the growth is not going to stop anytime soon. The world of gaming has grown into something amazing and recently, it is clear that gaming has reached a whole new peak, as in it is in it’s all time high where many people are supporting and getting into to gaming. Ever since covid-19 hit and everyone was forced to enter quarantine, a lot of people were bored and had nothing to do and nobody to talk to. People mentals started to drain which led to all types of stuff like anxiety and depression. With people having nothing to do, a lot of people have decided to enter the world of gaming and give gaming a try which has had major impacts on people’s lives for the better. Now, ever since quarantine, video games have been on many people minds and many people can’t wait to see how the future of the gaming world is going to be. Video games and other things that are related to video games have been receiving a lot of endorsements and advertisements and they advertise all the big things they have coming up like in-game events. Let’s look at Fortnite for a second, Fortnite recently just had a major event happen in the game that they hyped up and advertised for a while that many of people attended and viewed. Epic Games, the company that developed Fortnite, even came out and said how the event was a massive success and how millions of people came out to watch the event which was one of the game’s highest viewing. The event was being streamed and broadcasted throughout multiple platforms and these platforms are what help bring the community together. Many people live stream on a daily basis on them playing video games and even make YouTube videos and post stuff on different types of social media that are mostly about video games as a way to get the community involved and bring them into their lives and on their journey to share a common interest on what they all love and love doing and also, to help make people be and feel like they are part of a community that loves are respects each other. With these communities, people like to socialize and chill with other people that are there, as well as the content creator which is the streamer and the one that posts different kind of stuff, and they play games with each and just overall have a great time. There are also many games that are out there that are team based or requires people to communicate with each other, like Overwatch and Among Us, that are popular throughout the world and are really fun to play and be a part of and that brings the community together. These are only a few out of many ways where video games help build these types of communities where the communities grow into something big and where video games will have major impacts on people’s lives for the better.

Anderton, Kevin. “The Impact Of Gaming: A Benefit To Society [Infographic]”. Forbes Magazine. 25 Jun. 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinanderton/2018/06/25/the-impact-of-gaming-a-benefit-to-society-infographic/?sh=14af2a65269d

Gaming is a very good thing that provides many benefits in people’s lives that can help make their lives better. According to this article, which is written by another fellow gamer, the main point that the author tries to conveys is that gaming is and can be a very positive thing to experience and be around that haves and will always have a major impact on society for the better. The author also tries to convey that all the people that have negative thoughts on video games and the impact it has are all false and need to stop spreading these negative and false information. The author talks about how being a part of the gaming community can benefit all different types of people no matter of their age and where they are from. According to the article, the author used data from an organization called Qutee which is a data-led discussion platform in which helps gamers to get the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions and it states, “In an online poll, gamers were asked what they believed to be the main benefit of gaming. Over 40% said that gaming improves emotional well-being.” This shows that nearly half of the gamers that participated in this poll said that it helped improved their well beings and the article then follows up with, “That’s a serious benefit if you consider that one in five people in America experience mental health issues each year.” This is considered to be a very good thing because the fact that many people go to many different things that can all have a negative effect on their well beings, and the fact they nearly half of these people said that gaming helped them get through it and helped with their well-being, is just a benefit that cannot be under minded. In the article, it also states, “This is a large contrast to the common view that playing video games leads to violence and other antisocial behavior. Which, according to Qutee, is a view that 93% of gamers think is incorrect.” This shows that majority of the gamers and people that are a part of the gaming community all have good things to say and that they don’t really have any negative things to say about the gaming industry and the impact it has in people’s lives and the society.

This article can be a very good source to read that can help people see the benefits of gaming. The information used in this article really helped supported the author’s claim and backed up everything they had to say. The information in this article, which involves both facts and the author’s thoughts and experiences, can be very impactful where it can persuade people that aren’t for gaming or don’t know much about it that gaming is very good. The information found in this article isn’t really surprising to me as where that I am also a gamer and that I see all the good and benefits of gaming and don’t see any negatives. If anything, I would’ve added a few more pieces of evidence, such as facts, that will help further deepen his argument. Me and the author are both fellow gamers and I agree with the author whereas, in the article, it states, “But for the most part, it seems that gaming has a positive impact and should be treated as such.” This shows that gamers will have positive things to say about gaming and the impact it has.

American Psychological Association. “Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits, review finds”. Feb. 2014. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/video-game

This article talks about how gaming can help people grow and learn new different games. The main claim I get throughout this article is that gaming can help people learn things and adapt new skills that people can use in the real world. The person(s) that published this article also included the other side where gaming can be viewed as a negative thing and it can supposedly lead to bad things. According to this article, research shows that gaming can both have a negative and positive impact on people’s lives and society. In this article, it mostly goes it dept on how gaming can help people’s lives and how people can grow from it. According to this article, a 2013 meta-analysis found out about the impact of people playing shooter games, and it states, “’ This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics’”. This shows that playing video games can provide people with the knowledge and skills that can help people out in the real world, such as academics. In the article, it also states, “The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013.” This shows that playing all these different types of video games can provide all different types of knowledge and life skills that people can benefit from.

This article provides good claims that are supported by relevant facts and information that helped backed up the article’s main point. Even though the publisher put some negative views towards video games in the article, the benefits and positive views towards video games and people gaming outweighed the bad a ton. Even though there were negative views and claims in this article that would go against my claim, I still decided to put it because I agree that nothing is perfect, and this article just straight showed how the good outweighed the bad. This article provided so many details and evidence that really supports the good and positives about gaming. Questions I have for the publisher, the person(s) who wrote this article, is why would you put both sides of the positive and negative effects of gaming in this article, even though in this article, the good outweighs the bad by a lot? Is it because the writer has mix emotions and thoughts about gaming?

Babathebrown. “Who is Valkyrae”. Youtube. 10 Dec. 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNw6Y56xWi0

This is a video that talks about the life of a content creator called Valkyrae and how her playing video games and being a part of the gaming industry and the gaming community impacted her life for the better. Valkyrae has a lot to do in the gaming industry where she is well known, watched and supported. She went through a lot of tough times in her life and went through a lot and done many things to help her get through it and gaming has been the greatest thing that helped her where she has a major career and where it helps her a lot personally. She also has the ability to support her family and things that are extremely important to her with not much to worry about. In this video it talks about how Valkyrae was trying to get her career started and all the challenges she has faced and had to go through. It talks about how her dad was going through cancer and how she was trying to take care of him and support him and how times were rough for her. With the help of video games, it helped turn her life around and she is able to keep on doing good and positive things.

I have chosen this video because it talks about how gaming impacted her life for the better and he talks about it and represents it clearly. Valkyrae is one of my favorite content creators and I love to watch her play and go through her journey and I feel her and support her for what she is doing and what she is going through. Valkyrae has such a story that many people will follow and support her for what she has done and is doing, and many people will be with her in the long run. I know this video isn’t perfect but I think that this video presents her story clearly with a bit of humor that people could understand and follow and would love to watch. I know a better video with better and more information that will go deep in will be better for people to truly understand her story and what she been through and how gaming impacted her life, but I like this video because it is short and simple.

Salam, Maya. “The Video Games That Got Us Through 2020”. The New York Times. 17 Dec. 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/arts/video-games-pandemic.html?searchResultPosition=5

This Newspaper article talks about some of the games that helped people get through this 2020 year, which is where us people had to quarantine ourselves due to covid-19, and how it helped people get through it. Not all of the top games that people fell in love with and that majority of people play are listed here but just a few and it explains what about the games makes these games so good and beneficial. According to this article, some of the ways in which people used video games to get through quarantine were to pass time, communicate with other people and have fun, and because it also helped them mentally. In this article, it states, “Maybe you were new to video games in 2020, each day of social distancing nudging you closer to an alternate reality. (You wouldn’t be alone; the industry saw record spending and profits this year.)”. One can see that video games becoming even more of such a major factor in 2020, it shows that people playing video games really helped them through all the struggles and negatives of reality and enter a state of mind where everything just seems so perfect. With video games providing so many good things, many people wanted in on it and records show how many people are starting to enter and join the gaming industry and be a part of the gaming community. In the article, it also states, “In any case, what matters is that video games provided a much-needed outlet in a bizarre time.” This helps shows what the author’s overall message is that they are trying to show which is that gaming is really a positive thing to experience and be a part of and that gaming can help people get through tough times.

This article is really good and it shows how people can get through tough times and whatever they are going through that they want to escape. Even if you are not trying to escape things that are bad and are just trying to enter the world of gaming and enjoy the good and positives about it and take use of its benefits, this article is perfect to use and understand how games are good. I think the credibility of this article is perfect because the person who wrote this article said how they have been playing video games for over 20 years and you can see that she knows what they are talking about. The author provided great information about the games and the impacts they have. If anything, I would talk a little bit more about the impacts of playing video games have on people.


The reason why I chose this topic is because I am very passionate about it and I love and support gaming in every way. I think gaming can benefit people in many ways and I also think that it can bring good and positive things into people’s lives that many people could love and appreciate. I really wanted to focus on a topic that has a major impact on help fixing the current problems in society and the problems that many people are having to go through, instead of focusing on a major topic that I know many other people will probably talk about. I wanted to do a topic that can help solve all these problems that many people can learn and benefit from. In the research that I did, I am not surprised at the information and facts that I found out about but, the research that I did really helped deepen my understanding on the positives about gaming and how people can benefit from it. I found out that people getting into gaming and being a part of the gaming community and industry, can really help with all types of issues and problems that many people are dealing with. Playing video games can help with all types of problems like mental illnesses like anxiety and depression in which many people, during this time of quarantine, are going through. Gaming can provide all types of support such as mental support and physical support. Gaming can also help with many health issues and the problem of people needing to socialize and be in contact with people. People going to tough things like depression can have a toll on their health’s as in their not really taking care of themselves, so video games can come in and help fix that problem people are going through so they can start doing better and start taking care of themselves. Learning these things about video games are important whereas people can use this information and incorporate it in their lives and use it whenever they need it to get through stuff or to help out a love one or someone that is close to them that means a lot to you, or even if you just want to help people in need. The people I am targeting the most in this writing are people that are going through a lot of negative, bad things that they want to get away from and heal from. There are many ways people can heal, but getting into gaming can and is a major way to help people in need.

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