Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

U.N. Human Rights Chief Blasts China for Persecuting Uighur Muslims

U.N. Human Rights Chief Blasts China for Persecuting Uighur Muslims

China on Tuesday told the new United Nations human rights chief to respect its sovereignty after she called for access to its regions following "deeply disturbing" allegations of mass detentions of Muslim minorities.

China on Wednesday told the United States to stop interfering in its domestic affairs on the pretext of Uighurs in Xinjiang and warned that bilateral ties will be hurt if it slapped sanctions against senior Chinese officials.

"We have a lot of tools at our disposal", she told reporters.

The State Department on Tuesday expressed concern following reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims, which has prompted worldwide outcry.

Discussions to rebuke China for its treatment of its minority Muslims have been underway for months among officials at the White House and the Treasury and State Departments. "I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the US Government may take".

The economic sanctions over human rights violations in China would be a first for the Trump administration.

China has defended their crackdown in the region, saying that Islamist militants are plotting attacks in Xinjiang and are considered a serious threat.

The letter mentions reports that as many as one million Uighurs are being held in detention centers, referred to as "re-education camps" across Xinjiang.

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Punishments for refusing to follow instructions in the camp could mean being denied food, being forced to stand for 24 hours or even solitary confinement, it said.

Ethnic Kazakhs are increasingly being targeted in China's "Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism" in the far western Xinjiang region, Human Rights Watch charges in a new report.

On Monday, the new United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet became the latest high profile global figure to speak out against alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

One month later, in a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Germany-based Uyghur Congress (WUC) said an estimated one million Uyghurs were in political indoctrination camps as of July.

Human Rights Watch released the most detailed and comprehensive report yet of witness testimony from the re-education camps in Xinjiang, and the families and lives torn apart by arbitrary detentions and the police state: "Eradicating ideological viruses": China's campaign of repression against Xinjiang's Muslims.

Officials from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said various reports from the region indicate that Muslims are "being treated as enemies of the state exclusively on the basis of their ethno-religious identity".

Amid the allegations of systematic abuse by numerous organisations in Xinjiang, the Chinese government insisted that people in China have complete freedom to choose their religion.

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