US urges China to release detained Muslim minorities

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WASHINGNTON: The United States has asked China to release the Muslim minorities “arbitrarily detained” by the communist country and “end its repression”. Taking a strong stand against the violence and discrimination the south-Asian nation has subjected the ethnic minorities to, US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo tweeted, “China has detained more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang since April 2017. China must release all those arbitrarily detained and end its repression.”

Highlighting Beijing’s “hypocrisy” in the matter, Pompeo said, “The world cannot afford China’s shameful hypocrisy toward Muslims. On one hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other, it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN.”

Earlier this month, China had put a ‘technical block’ to the UN resolution to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist, saying it needed “more time” as it is “conducting a comprehensive and in-depth review” on the listing request put forth by the countries.

Beijing had said that it will continue “coordinating” with all the relevant parties to find a “lasting solution” to the issue if is to be resolved in a “responsible and sustainable way.”

The United Nations has estimated that over one million Uighurs are being held in internment camps in the Xinjiang province.

The United Nations Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has also sought access to the Uighur camps in China’s Xinjiang Province to verify “worrying” reports about human rights violations in the region.

Recently, Beijing also passed a law to “implement measures to sinicize” Islam within the next five years. The Uighur is a Muslim majority in Xinjiang province, situated in the western part of China and is officially designated as an autonomous region. According to experts, over one million Uighurs have been detained in internment camps where they are forced to undergo forceful re-education or indoctrination.

The Chinese government, on the other hand, has continuously denied any human rights violations in the region. Beijing has refuted claims of clamping down on the Uighurs, outlining that only people who have committed minor offences when involved in terrorist activities are made to go through vocational training at “vocational education institutions”.

Practising Islam is illegal in some pockets of China. People caught fasting, praying, growing a beard or wearing a hijab attract arrest in the nation. (ANI)