by WorldTribune Staff, August 15, 2018
Beijing has denied a UN official’s claim that more than 1 million Muslim Uighurs are being held in what is in effect a massive internment camp in communist China.
Gay McDougall, a member of of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said that China’s Xinjiang region has been turned into “something resembling a massive internment camp, shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone.”
McDougall last week highlighted reports that more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities are being held in re-education camps.
“The argument that one million Uighurs are detained in re-education centers is completely untrue,” Ma Youqing, director of China’s United Front Work Department, told the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Ma insisted that Uighurs, “enjoy equal freedom and rights.”
McDougall, citing reports from human rights groups, said another 2 million people in China “have been forced” into re-education camps for “political and cultural indoctrination.”
China has long been engaged in what is called a “strike hard” campaign in Xinjiang, which it says is a counter-terrorism program aimed at combating ethnic violence.
Human Rights Watch said the program “is in practice far broader, and encompasses anyone suspected of political disloyalty, which in Xinjiang could mean any Uighur, particularly those who express, even peacefully, their religious or cultural identity.”
While China’s constitution guarantees the freedom of religious worship, the ruling Communist Party is officially atheist and keeps tight restrictions on religious activities.
Muslims are banned from the unauthorized distribution of the Koran. Beards and veils are also banned.
An official Communist Party newspaper said China’s campaign of pressure against the Uighurs has prevented the Xinjiang region from becoming “China’s Syria” or “China’s Libya.”