China re­jects crit­i­cism over de­tain­ing Mus­lims

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - WORLD NEWS - JAMEY KEATEN and YANAN WANG

GENEVA — China on Tues­day once again re­jected crit­i­cism of its treat­ment of eth­nic Mus­lims, telling the UN that ac­cu­sa­tions of rights abuses from some coun­tries were “po­lit­i­cally driven.”

At a reg­u­lar UN re­view of the coun­try’s hu­man rights record, China char­ac­ter­ized the far west re­gion of Xin­jiang as a for­mer hot­bed of ex­trem­ism that has been sta­bi­lized through “train­ing cen­tres” which help peo­ple gain em­ploy­able skills.

For­mer de­tainees of such cen­tres, on the other hand, have de­scribed the fa­cil­i­ties as po­lit­i­cal in­doc­tri­na­tion camps where eth­nic Uighurs, Kaza­khs and other Mus­lim mi­nori­ties are forced to re­nounce their faith and swear loy­alty to the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party.

The UN has pre­vi­ously said there are cred­i­ble re­ports that as many as 1 mil­lion peo­ple are be­ing held in this form of ex­tra­ju­di­cial de­ten­tion.

At Tues­day’s re­view — part of the Hu­man Rights Coun­cil’s pe­ri­odic re­view process for ev­ery mem­ber state — the U.S., Canada, Ja­pan and sev­eral other coun­tries called on Beijing to ad­dress grow­ing con­cerns over its treat­ment of Xin­jiang Mus­lims.

U.S. charge d’af­faires Mark Cas­sayre urged China to “im­me­di­ately re­lease the hun­dreds of thou­sands, pos­si­bly mil­lions, of in­di­vid­u­als” ar­bi­trar­ily de­tained in the re­gion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both Canada and the U.K. said the coun­try’s hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion has “de­te­ri­o­rated.”

Chi­nese Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Le Yucheng dis­missed the cen­sures.

“We will not ac­cept the po­lit­i­cally-driven ac­cu­sa­tions from a few coun­tries that are fraught with bi­ases,” Le said.

Yasim Sadiq, the Uighur mayor of Xin­jiang’s cap­i­tal of Urumqi, told the ses­sion in Geneva that cur­rent poli­cies are in line with the peo­ple’s wishes. He re­peated China’s fre­quently cited claim that no ter­ror­ist at­tacks have oc­curred in the re­gion for 21 months, and that “trainees” who were pre­vi­ously “con­trolled by ex­trem­ist ide­ol­ogy” have since im­mersed them­selves in cul­tural and ath­letic ac­tiv­i­ties at the cen­tres.

In re­cent years, Xin­jiang has been out­fit­ted with a high-tech se­cu­rity net­work, mak­ing po­lice check­points and sur­veil­lance cam­eras ubiq­ui­tous through­out the re­gion.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A child from the Uighur com­mu­nity liv­ing in Tur­key par­tic­i­pates in a protest of op­pres­sion by the Chi­nese govern­ment in the far-western Xin­jiang prov­ince in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key, on Tues­day.

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