Rights groups voice “real concern” about detention of Uighur Muslims in China

A leading Brussels-based human rights group has voiced concern about ethnic minority groups, most Uyghur Muslims, in China.

Leaked documents about Chinese detention camps are said to dramatically contradict government claims they are voluntary job training centres.

The classified documents, which have been broadcast by Sky TV, appear to confirm the testimony of many former detainees that they are centres for forced ideological and behavioural re-education.

More than a million people from ethnic minority groups, most Uighur Muslims, are in the camps in the far western Xinjiang region. Uighurs are a Turkic minority of about 10 million with their own customs and language.

China, though, has dismissed the leak as a “fabrication and fake news”.  A Chinese government spokesman said religious freedom and personal freedom of people in the camps is “fully respected”.

He said that “since the terror crackdown started in Xinjiang there has not been a single terrorist incident in the past three years”.

However,the documents leaked to a consortium of international journalists – including the Associated Press news agency – detail a strategy to lock up minorities in order to change their beliefs and even their language.

To prevent escapes they stipulate double-locked doors, watch towers and a huge video surveillance operation with no blind spots. Artificial intelligence and mass surveillance technology is also being used on a large scale, with computers issuing the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week.

Commenting on the findings, Willy Fautre, head of Human Rights Without Frontiers, based in Brussels, told this website, “Xi Jinping is the new Mao and the so-called ‘sinicization’ campaign is nothing else than a new Cultural Revolution implemented with all the technological weapons of the 21st century that Beijing can use to track all those who need to be ‘reeducated politically’.”

“Over one million Uighurs are deprived of their freedom of movement and kept behind barbed wires for an indefinite time until the brainwashing is successful. The objective of the sinicization is not the revival of the ancestral Chinese culture but Communist political correctness, the choking of the people’s opium and the cultural genocide of the Uighur Muslims.”

Further comment came from Marco Respinti, Director-in-Charge of Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China who said, “The leaked videos document what we all know and China, and its allies, pretend to hide. Xinjiang – that Uyghur prefer to call East Turkestan – is filled with detention camps where people are treated horribly. Indeed, Xinjiang itself is becoming a huge open-air detention camp, where people are surveilled in every single movement through highly sophisticated technology.

“These videos seem to date mostly back to 2017. But reality hasn’t changed, as we at Bitter Winter documented with the publication of the first and so far the only video from inside one of those camps [here is the video] where up to 3 million Uyghur (as recent researches say), plus thousand and thousand of other Turkic people, are unlawfully detained and severely ill-treated just because they are believers and because of their ethnicity. China has tried first to deny the existence of these camps.

“Secondly, when it couldn’t do it any more due to evidence, it changed its communication strategy saying that camps are professional school to “re-educate” terrorists. As a matter of fact, there the Chinese communist regime is for sure re-educating people -with terror, and to Communist ideology. As to the so-called “professional schools”, among detained people there are also accomplished professionals, sometimes even retired… So what?… Indeed, those camps are just are prison of the worst kind, and thy should not be in place. In recent weeks, after The New York Times and other published evidence of what is going in Xinjiang no one can pretend not to know any longer.

“This situation must stop, now. The international community has no excuse: it must act.”

Read also: 

Rights groups condemn China over “torture” of religious minorities

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks


‘America is watching’: US House passes Uighur bill urging sanctions on Chinese officials

4 December 2019 09:23 AFP3 min read

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to toughen Washington’s position against China regarding its treatment of minority Uighurs, calling on President Donald Trump to apply sanctions against senior Chinese officials.

The Uighur Act of 2019 condemns Beijing’s “gross human rights violations” linked to the crackdown in the western region of Xinjiang, where as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in re-education camps.

uighur act

Photo: C-Span.

The measure, which passed 407 to 1, is a stronger version of the bill that cleared the Senate in September. The two versions must be reconciled into one bill that gets sent to Trump’s desk.

The vote is sure to draw China’s ire. Beijing has already threatened retaliation against Washington for Trump signing legislation last week supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, just as the world’s top two economies edge towards a trade truce.

Tom Cotton@SenTomCotton

A string of terror attacks hit Xinjiang province in 2014.

Instead of bringing the perpetrators to justice, the Chinese Communist Party adopted the tactics of terror themselves. They used the attacks as an opportunity to stamp out all dissent.30522:47 – 3 Dec 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy222 people are talking about this

The latest House measure condemns the mass arbitrary detainment of Uighurs and calls for closure of the re-education camps where they have been held and abused, according to rights groups and US lawmakers.

The bill notably urges Trump to slap sanctions on Chinese officials behind the Uighur policy, including Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief for Xinjiang.

“Today the human dignity and human rights of the Uighur community are under threat from Beijing’s barbarous actions, which are an outrage to the collective conscience of the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues shortly before the vote.

Congress “is taking a critical step to counter Beijing’s horrific human rights abuses against Uighurs,” she said.

“America is watching.”

Rep. Jim McGovern@RepMcGovern · 4 Dec 2019Replying to @RepMcGovern

2/ In the last year, Chinese authorities have expanded their network of mass internment camps, where it is now estimated that 1.8 million or more #Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims have been involuntarily detained.

Rep. Jim McGovern@RepMcGovern

3/ This is a systematic, widespread, and shocking violation of basic human rights for which the Government of China must be held accountable. The UIGHUR Act is an essential update to U.S. policy in response to human rights abuses in #Xinjiang.38802:24 – 4 Dec 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy167 people are talking about this

Pelosi lashed out at Chinese authorities for orchestrating a repressive crackdown that includes pervasive mass state surveillance, solitary confinement, beatings, forced sterilization “and other forms of torture.”

Rights groups and witnesses accuse China of forcibly trying to draw Uighurs away from their Islamic customs and integrate them into the majority Han culture.

After initially denying their existence, Beijing now defends the camps, which it calls “vocational education centers,” as a necessary measure to counter religious extremism and terrorism.

The House bill would require the State Department to produce a report within one year on the crackdown in Xinjiang.

xinjiang camp detention

File photo posted by the Xinjiang Judicial Administration to its WeChat account. File photo: Xinjiang Judicial Administration.

And it would require the Commerce Department to ban US exports to entities in Xinjiang that are known to be used in the detention or surveillance of Muslim minorities, including facial recognition technology.

Republican Marco Rubio, a sponsor of the legislation in the US Senate, warned that China’s government and Communist Party “is working to systematically wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities” of Uighurs.

He applauded the House passage and said he looked forward to getting a reconciled bill to Trump’s desk.

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Congress Condemns China Over Brutal Crackdown on the Muslim Minority

Congress Condemns China Over Brutal Crackdown on the Muslim MinorityCongress overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday aimed at pressuring China over a brutal mass crackdown on ethnic Muslims in the far west of the country.SharePauseMuteCurrent Time 0:19/Duration 0:24Loaded: 100.00% FullscreenDECEMBER 4, 2019

(WASHINGTON) — Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday aimed at pressuring China over a brutal mass crackdown on ethnic Muslims in the far west of the country, legislation that follows a similar measure over human rights abuses in Hong Kong that angered the Chinese government.

The House of Representatives voted 407-1 to approve the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, which has already passed the Senate.

The legislation condemns the detention of more than 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities in so-called reeducation camps, where they are subjected to political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and food deprivation, as well as denial of religious and linguistic freedom.

It would require the State Department to evaluate whether Chinese officials would meet the criteria for sanctions for their roles in the crackdown in the Xinjian region.

“The Chinese Government and Communist Party is working to systematically wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the backers of the legislation. “Today, Congress took another important step to hold Chinese officials accountable for egregious and ongoing human rights abuses.”

Last month, Congress passed — and President Donald Trump signed — legislation supporting anti-government protests in Hong Kong. China said Monday that it will suspend U.S. military ship and aircraft visits to the semi-autonomous city and sanction several American pro-democracy and human rights groups in response to the move.


Surviving China’s Uighur camps

“Uyghur 2019 namliq” qanun layihisi amérika dölet mejliside maqulluqtin ötti

“Uyghur 2019 namliq” qanun layihisi amérika dölet mejliside awazgha qoyuluwatqan körünüsh. 2019-Yili 3-dékabir, washin’gton.house.gov
Tüzitip yéngidin tonushturulghan “Uyghurlargha ige chiqish we dunyawi insanperwerlikning ortaq inkasi” yeni “Uyghur 2019 namliq” qanun layihisi 3-dékabir amérika dölet mejliside mutleq üstün awaz bilen maqulluqtin ötti.
Qanun layihesi awam palatasida 1 ge qarshi 407 awaz bilen maqulluqtin ötti.

Mezkur qanunning yene bir wariyanti yeni “Uyghur kishilik hoquq siyasiti qanun layihisi” kéngesh palata ezasi marko rubiyo qatarliqlar teripidin tonushturulup, bu yil 11- séntebir kéngesh palatasida maqulluqtin ötken idi.
Halbuki, bu nöwet tonushturulghan qanun layihesi awam palatasida ilgiri tonushturulghan “Uyghurlargha ige chiqish we dunyawi insanperwerlikning ortaq inkasi qanun layihisi” bilen kéngesh palatasida tonushturulup maqulluqtin ötken “Uyghur kishilik hoquq siyasiti qanun layihisi” biriktürülgen yéngi qanun layihisi hésablinidiken.

Qanun layihisi dölet mejliside 40 minut etrapida munazire qilindi we shu küni kech sa’et 7 din 12 minut ötkende qanunning maqulluqtin ötkenliki resmiy jakarlandi.

Qanun layihisi kelgüside kéngesh palatasida awazgha qoyulidu we kéngesh palatasida maqulluqtin ötkendin kéyin, prézidéntning imzalishigha yollinidu we prézidént imza qoyghandin kéyin resmiy qanun bolup maqullinidu.

Munasiwetlik xewerler
Xitay amérikaning “Uyghur kishilik hoquq qanuni” seweblik “Bedel töleydighanliqi” ni bildürdi
Amérika awam palatasi “Uyghur kishilik hoquq qanun layihesi” ni resmiy maqullidi
Amérika awam palatasining “Uyghur kishilik hoquq qanun layihesi” ni maqullishi xelq’ara taratqularda keng inkas qozghidi
“Uyghur 2019 namliq” qanun layihesining amérika dölet mejlisidin ötüshi Uyghurlarni hayajanlandurdi
Amérika dölet mejlis ezaliri “Uyghur 2019” qanun layihesining awam palatadin ötkenlikini qizghin tebriklidi
Amérikadiki Uyghurlar “Uyghur kishilik hoquq qanun layihesi” ning maqullinishi üchün heriketke ötti
Amérika dölet xewpsizlik meslihetchisi robért obrayén: shinjangda bir milyondin artuq adem yighiwélish lagérlirida yatmaqta. Bu bir qebihlik
“Wal-sitrit zhurnili” : “Xitayning shinjangdiki qilmishlirigha qandaq inkas qayturush kérek?”
Amérikaning tashqi ishlar mu’awin ministiri namzati: “Uyghur rayonida musulman tawapgahlirining chéqiliwatqanliqigha da’ir xewerlerning chinliqida mesile yoq”
Obzorchi gordon chang: mexpiy höjjetler lagér siyasitide shi jinpingning qoli barliqini ashkarilidi. Muxbirimiz jüme

Lebenslänglich für Uiguren-Funktionär in China

Dem Politiker Nur Bekri wird Korruption vorgeworfen. Er war sechs Jahre lang Gouverneur der chinesischen Provinz Xinjiang. Dort sollen Hunderttausende muslimische Uiguren in Internierungslagern leben.

China Prozess gegen ehem. Gouverneur Nur Bekri (AFP/Shenyang Municipal Intermediate People's Court )

Nur Bekri im Juli im Gerichtssaal in Shenyang

Der ehemalige Gouverneur Nur Bekri war einst einer der ranghöchsten uigurischen Politiker Chinas. Das Mittlere Volksgericht der Stadt Shenyang verurteilte ihn wegen Korruption zu einer lebenslangen Haftstrafe. Zusätzlich würden ihm seine politischen Rechte aberkannt und sein Vermögen beschlagnahmt, hieß es. Bekri sagte noch im Gerichtssaal, er werde keine Berufung gegen das Urteil einlegen. Es ist einer der prominentesten Fälle im Zuge der Anti-Korruptions-Kampagne des chinesischen Staatschefs Xi Jinping.

Zuletzt war Bekri Direktor der Energieagentur und stellvertretender Leiter der Nationalen Entwicklungs- und Reformkommission, Chinas wichtigster Aufsichtsbehörde für Wirtschaftsplanung. Zwischen 2008 und 2014 war Bekri Gouverneur der Provinz Xinjiang. Während seiner Zeit im Amt gab es in der Region Gewaltausbrüche zwischen den vorrangig muslimischen Uiguren und den herrschenden Han-Chinesen. Im Jahr 2009 wurden bei Unruhen 200 Menschen getötet. Damals sagte Bekri, er werde die Gewalt mit “eiserner Hand” niederschlagen.

China Uiguren in der Provinz Xinjiang (AFP/G. Baker)

In Xinjiang lebt eine große muslimische Minderheit (Archivbild)

Repressalien und politischer Druck

Nach der Amtszeit von Bekri sind nach Schätzungen von Menschenrechtlern in den vergangenen Jahren bis zu eine Million Uiguren in Umerziehungslager gesteckt worden. Die Bundesregierung hat von China gefordert, internationalen Experten Zugang zu der Region zu ermöglichen. Vergangene Woche hatte das Konsortium Investigativer Journalisten (ICIJ) Dokumente veröffentlicht, die von der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas stammen sollen und die Anleitungen zur massenhaften Internierung der muslimischen Minderheit in Nordwestchina enthalten.

Die Ermittlungen gegen Bekri, die bereits vor mehr als einem Jahr starteten, erfolgten im Rahmen der Anti-Korruptions-Kampagne Xi Jinpings, die schon Sicherheitschef Zhou Yongkang und Handelsminister Bo Xilai zu Fall brachte. Insgesamt sollen bislang 1,3 Millionen Beamte und Politiker auf allen Ebenen bestraft worden sein. Kritiker werfen Xi vor, die Kampagne zur Beseitigung politischer Gegner und zur Festigung seiner Macht zu missbrauchen.

lh/jj (dpa, afp) 


Uiguren-Konflikt: Opfer chinesischer MachtinteressenVerfolgt und weggesperrt: Die China Cables enthüllten jüngst das Ausmaß der Unterdrückung der Uiguren in China. Die wichtigsten Fragen in einem Konflikt, in dem es um Macht, Wirtschaftsinteressen und Menschenrechte geht. (29.11.2019)  “China Cables” belegen systematische Verfolgung von Uiguren in ChinaChina hat in der Autonomieregion Xinjiang nach Angaben internationaler Journalisten einen riesigen Unterdrückungsapparat etabliert. Interne Dokumente zeigen, wie die massenhafte Internierung von Uiguren organisiert wird. (25.11.2019)  China verstößt in Xinjiang gegen eigene GesetzeChina sieht sich nach den jüngsten Enthüllungen über seine Repression gegen die Uiguren international auf der Anklagebank. Eine Verteidigung: Alles sei gesetzeskonform. Dem ist nicht so, wie Experten klarstellen. (27.11.2019)  Immer mehr Uiguren wollen Asyl in DeutschlandIn China wird die muslimische Minderheit mit wachsender Härte verfolgt. Das spiegelt sich auch in den Zahlen des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge wider. (29.11.2019)  China empört sich über Uiguren-KritikEs ist ein klarer, diplomatischer Fingerzeig: 23 Nationen haben China wegen der Unterdrückung der uigurischen Minderheit kritisiert. Die Führung in Peking fühlt sich empfindlich getroffen – und reagiert prompt. (30.10.2019)  Uiguren-Lager in China: Maas fordert KonsequenzenDer deutsche Außenminister Heiko Maas fordert eine UN-Untersuchung in der chinesischen Provinz Xinjiang. Ein Journalistenkonsortium hatte erstmals die Existenz von “Umerziehungslagern” für Millionen Menschen belegt. (26.11.2019)  China, die Uiguren und deutsche UnternehmenDie Fragen sind nicht neu, aber in diesem Fall besonders bedrückend: Was wissen deutsche Firmen, die in der Uiguren-Provinz Xinjiang aktiv sind, von Lagern und Unterdrückung dort? Und warum sind sie eigentlich da? (27.11.2019)  


Sacharow-Preis für Uiguren Ilham Tohti   

Wanted: Chinese cadres to hold Beijing’s line in Xinjiang as Han Chinese head for the exits

  • Beijing’s officials are leaving the troubled region where – by some estimates – up to a million Uygurs have been held in detention centres
  • While Muslim communities are in lockdown, people of Han Chinese ethnicity are voting with their feet and leaving the region, sources say
Mimi Lau

Mimi Lau  

Published: 9:45pm, 4 Dec, 2019464

Illustration: Brian Wang

Illustration: Brian WangChina’s Xinjiang autonomous region has attracted international attention for all the wrong reasons – police crackdowns and reports that local ethnic Uygur people are being held in internment camps. What hasn’t gained much attention is the difficulty Beijing has drafting in staff to execute its policies in the far northwest area.The measures targeting Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have triggered “widespread discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens”, a source close to the central government told the South China Morning Post. The source said Chinese President Xi Jinping was aware of the problem because he had been briefed by the country’s chief Xinjiang policy coordinator, Wang Yang.

And as the United Nations wants to send in officials to inspect the internment camps, which some estimates say have held as many as 1 million Uygurs, members of the Han Chinese ethnicity – which dominates both China as a whole and the Chinese Communist Party – are leaving the region in increasing numbers.

“[Wang has] said in his briefings that even the Han people are deeply dissatisfied,” the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “Life is harsh [in Xinjiang] even for cadres. Officials are exhausted as nobody is allowed days off [even after working for weeks].”These reports come as China faces increasing pressure to allow international monitors into the internment camps. That’s especially since news outlets in November published reports based on the so-called China cables, or a leak of classified documents that indicate the camps were set up as forced indoctrination centres.

The UN Human Rights Council in July released a statement calling for an end to what it called “arbitrary detention” of Uygurs and other Muslim groups in the region.SUBSCRIBE TO US CHINA TRADE WARGet updates direct to your inboxSUBMITBy registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

Beijing has said criticism of its policies in Xinjiang ignore that from 2009 it faced a separatist and terrorist insurgency in the region that killed hundreds of Han Chinese and wounded many more.China has said the internment centres are for vocational education and training to combat the spread of extremist views and terrorism. In November, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Xinjiang had not suffered a terrorist attack in three years, which he argued showed its methods were working.

And on Tuesday, China Youth Daily published an article by Shohrat Zakir, the autonomous region’s chairman, making the same argument and urging Western politicians and media to give up their “double standards” in criticising the vocational centres in Xinjiang.

Still, for the officials on the ground in charge of carrying out Beijing’s Xinjiang policies, life is increasingly unpleasant, according to the source. China has set up what is called a “sent-down system” in the region that requires cadres to live in the homes of Uygurs as part of surveillance programmes.

“The cadres sent down must bring gifts and pay out of their own pocket and anyone refusing to go is sacked right on the spot. Measures like these have triggered widespread resentment,” the source said.

Xinjiang authorities regularly advertise jobs with lucrative packages, but it is hard to retain people and an increase in requests for early retirement have been rejected in the past year.

“The children of Han Chinese officials in Xinjiang are sent away to live and study, so this adds to the drain of people leaving the region,” the source said.

China’s ethnic groups face end to affirmative action in education, taxes, policing

Wang, Xinjiang’s policy chief, has made three public inspection trips to the region: once in April 2018 and twice this year in March and July. He ranks fourth in the ruling Communist Party’s seven-member Politburo Standing Committee and is the head of the Central Committee’s Xinjiang Work Coordination Small Group, a body deciding Xinjiang policies.

During his April visit, Wang said the region needed to “perfect” its stability maintenance measures. While calling for a crackdown on ethnic separatist forces and religious extremism, Wang said traditional ethnic culture should be protected and the normal religious customs of believers should be ensured.The United States was not persuaded and the US House of Representatives voted through the Uygur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act this week, a bill that would allow the US administration to sanction officials it deems involved in the mass internment of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.

The number of Han Chinese in Xinjiang stood at 8.83 million, or about 40 per cent of the region’s population, in 2010. The figure fell to 8.6 million in 2015, or about 36 per cent, according to the latest population census, indicating that Beijing’s policy of encouraging more Han Chinese to move to the region is not working.

A Chinese academic studying Xinjiang confirmed that Han Chinese are leaving the region’s capital of Urumqi.

Urumqi had 3.5 million permanent residents in 2018, a decline from the 3.52 million reported in 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. While the bureau did not give a breakdown by ethnic background, it’s Han Chinese that are leaving.

China must meet human rights obligations in Xinjiang, says Germany

“The [Han] people can’t voice their discontent, but they vote with their feet. Xinjiang is facing a severe problem of Han population outflow,” the academic said, declining to be named in order to discuss the issue.

Peking University sociology professor Li Jianxin has released research showing that a low birth rate among Han Chinese is another factor in their declining population in Xinjiang over the past five years. Ethnic Muslims in the region have a significantly higher birth rate, according to the research.

Besides the network of “vocational training centres” built and operated since early 2017, Beijing has strict restrictions on the movement of the Muslim population in Xinjiang.

“Since last summer, the Urumqi public security authorities have suspended all applications to move household registration away from the city in a bid to curb migration out of the region,” one of the sources said.

These measures were not publicly announced, but Urumqi authorities posted a reply to a citizen inquiry on People.com.cn, the official website of party mouthpiece People’s Daily, that offered some indications of the policy.

Are Xinjiang camps training centres? China’s own documents say otherwise

“Due to an ongoing population census, applications to relocate household registration have been suspended until further notice,” the Urumqi public security bureau said in the post.

Experts studying the region say the root of Xinjiang’s ethnic tensions lies within a basket of unresolved structural development problems, including dominance of state enterprises, Uygur job discrimination, corruption and barriers to ethnic integration.

The monopoly of state conglomerates in the economy and the difficulty Uygurs have finding work remain the thorniest issues, according to another of the sources.

The three pillars of Xinjiang’s economy are energy, transport and cultural industries. All of them are dominated by state enterprises, especially in oil, chemicals, railways and aviation. Into this mix is the collusion of some of the nation’s most powerful state enterprises and Uygur political and business elites.

This structure has led to a decline in Xinjiang-based corporations and an increase in Uygur unemployment rates.

“We must figure out the components that make up the soil breeding extremism in Xinjiang before we can solve it, otherwise it will only be a mess on top of another mess,” the source said.

“Even as more Chinese factories are built, Uygurs are still jobless. One can’t help but feel that they are being robbed of their land and resources even as the local economy expands. They don’t get a piece of the pie.”

Illustration: Brian Wang