China dis­misses crit­i­cism about mass de­ten­tions at UN

The Myanmar Times - - World -

CHINA on Tues­day once again re­jected crit­i­cism of its treat­ment of eth­nic Mus­lims, telling the United Na­tions that ac­cu­sa­tions of rights abuses from some coun­tries were “po­lit­i­cally driven.”

At a 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 cen­ters” which help peo­ple gain em­ploy­able skills.

For­mer de­tainees of such cen­ters, 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 U.N. 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 US, Canada, Ja­pan and sev­eral other coun­tries called on Bei­jing to ad­dress grow­ing con­cerns over its treat­ment of Xin­jiang Mus­lims.

US 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 UK 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 cen­ters.

Sadiq said vis­i­tors are al­ways wel­come in Xin­jiang, but he did not ad­dress re­quests from sev­eral coun­tries to al­low in­de­pen­dent UN ob­servers in­side the re­gion.

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

Hu­man Rights Watch said the UN re­view showed the con­trast be­tween Bei­jing’s view of its hu­man rights records and “the grim re­al­i­ties.”

“China’s ef­forts to white­wash its record have failed to con­vince a grow­ing num­ber of states who rec­og­nize China’s de­lib­er­ate and sys­temic abuses, and sup­pres­sion of dis­sent­ing voices, can no longer be ig­nored,” John Fisher, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Geneva di­rec­tor, said in an emailed state­ment.

About 500 peo­ple, in­clud­ing eth­nic Uighurs but also pro-Ti­bet demon­stra­tors, marched through Geneva be­fore hold­ing a bois­ter­ous, col­or­ful rally at Geneva’s land­mark three­legged chair out­side the UN of­fices.

– AP

Photo: AP

Uyghurs peo­ple demon­strate against China dur­ing the Uni­ver­sal Pe­ri­odic Re­view of China by the Hu­man Rights Coun­cil, in front of the Eu­ro­pean head­quar­ters of the United Na­tions, in Geneva on Tues­day.

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