WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory - Flood Advisory View Alerts

China denies mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Washington Post correspondent Emily Ruahala says she spoke to Uyghurs who had been locked up without trial, even though China denies having "re-education camps."

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 8:57 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 8:57 AM

China has vociferously defended its human rights record at the United Nations, after accusations were made that more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been imprisoned in political reeducation camps.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been hearing testimony on the Chinese government's treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority, among other issues.

In their submission to the committee, the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said they estimated at least one million Uyghurs were being held in political indoctrination camps as of July 2018.

"Detentions are extra-legal, with no legal representation allowed throughout the process of arrest and incarceration," the submission said, adding there were "widespread" reports of torture.

Responding to questions Monday, a representative of the Chinese government called the accusations of mass imprisonment "completely untrue."

"Xinjiang citizens including the Uyghurs enjoy equal freedoms and rights," Hu Lianhe, a spokesman for China's United Front Work Department, told the UN panel. "There is no arbitrary detention, or lack of freedom of religion and belief."

He said there is "no such thing as re-education centers," but added criminals convicted of "minor offenses" have been assigned to "vocational educational and employment training centers with a view to assisting in their rehabilitation."

"They are not subject to any arbitrary detention or ill treatment there," Hu said.

In a tweet following China's statement, the WUC said China "continues to deny reality, but it cannot continue to hide this crime against humanity."

China Human Rights Defenders, a Hong Kong-based NGO, said the "body of evidence of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment is overwhelming."

Speaking after China's presentation, Gay McDougall, vice chairwoman of the UN committee, said "we have to have more than a denial of allegations," and asked for more evidence from China to counter the claims of rights groups.

Police state

For months the Chinese government has allegedly been secretly cracking down on the Muslim residents of Xinjiang, a province in far western China on the borders of central Asia, according to reports leaking out of the heavily-policed region cited in presentations to the UN hearing last week.

The latest alleged crackdown follows a spate of largely small scale incidents of violence, including protests and attacks on police officers, which the Chinese authorities have blamed on Muslim Uyghur separatists seeking to establish an independent state.

A Human Rights Watch report in December claimed millions of Xinjiang residents were having their DNA, fingerprints and retinal scans collected; earlier in 2017, the region's Muslims were banned from wearing long beards or veils in public.

According to a since deleted document posted on a Xinjiang government website, the main goal of the scheme was "to fully and accurately verify the real number of Xinjiang's population, to collect the images, fingerprints, iris scans, blood types, and DNA biometrics of those between the age of 12 and 65."

In February, the World Uyghur Congress accused the Chinese government of imprisoning thousands of Xinjiang Muslims in giant political education camps. Xinjiang authorities have not responded to repeated requests for information from CNN on the political education camps or responses to activists' allegations, but state media outlets have covered these facilities and touted their effectiveness in de-radicalizing the locals.

Information in Xinjiang is tightly controlled -- the province was cut off entirely from the internet for 10 months in 2009 and is still subject to greater censorship and surveillance than other parts of China.

Despite this, details of an alleged political indoctrination program and ongoing crackdown have spread out via diaspora networks and through Chinese media.

In May, pictures were spread on social media of Uyghur Muslims being forced to welcome Communist Party officials into their homes, to "maintain social stability and achieve lasting security."

China has consistently denied discriminating against Uyghurs and Muslims more broadly, pointing to laws which prohibit the oppression of any ethnic groups. For years, China has justified its policies in Xinjiang on fears of terrorism and separatist violence, tying in the threat from radical Islam in the region to Washington's "war on terror" and the spread of ISIS in the Middle East and beyond.

Those arrested by the authorities however have included moderates and academics with no links to radical organizations, including Ilham Tohti, a researcher on Uyghur-Han relations who was jailed for life in 2014 on charges of "separatism."

'China's Syria'

In an editorial Sunday in the nationalist, state-run tabloid Global Times, the paper said Xinjiang had been "salvaged from the verge of massive turmoil" by the "strong leadership" of the Communist Party.

"It has avoided the fate of becoming 'China's Syria' or 'China's Libya'," the state media editorial said.

The paper claimed the actions of the Chinese government in Xinjiang had "saved countless lives" and blamed the West for "smearing" their efforts.

"We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right," the article said.

But speaking to a United States congressional hearing on Xinjiang in July, US Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council Kelley Currie said detainees were being told to renounce their "ethnic identities, religious beliefs, and mainstream cultural and religious practices."

"There are even disturbing reports that young children have been sent to state-run orphanages if even one of their parents is detained in the internment camps," she said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333180

Reported Deaths: 7502
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22901279
Hinds22780438
Harrison19569326
Rankin14851287
Jackson14342251
Madison10692227
Lee10437179
Jones8746169
Forrest8210157
Lauderdale7561243
Lowndes6790150
Lamar669688
Lafayette6459124
Washington5516139
Pearl River4915149
Bolivar4909134
Oktibbeha478498
Panola4723112
Marshall4654106
Warren4640127
Pontotoc440473
Monroe4255137
Union425379
Neshoba4182180
Lincoln4098115
Hancock405088
Leflore3565125
Pike3530112
Tate349588
Alcorn343974
Sunflower343093
Adams333387
Scott331775
Yazoo331173
Simpson314890
Copiah313867
Itawamba310180
Coahoma308785
Tippah298868
Prentiss292963
Covington282483
Marion279580
Leake278475
Wayne270743
Grenada266388
George261651
Newton256664
Tishomingo236869
Winston235584
Jasper226148
Attala220873
Chickasaw216360
Stone210237
Holmes195674
Clay192254
Clarke182080
Tallahatchie181742
Calhoun177532
Smith175935
Yalobusha169440
Walthall141548
Lawrence137726
Greene135734
Amite132843
Noxubee131635
Perry131038
Montgomery130944
Carroll124531
Webster117532
Jefferson Davis113334
Tunica111127
Benton104625
Claiborne104331
Kemper100729
Humphreys99133
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw81319
Wilkinson74632
Jefferson69728
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 570667

Reported Deaths: 11483
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson834821584
Mobile45819855
Madison36785532
Tuscaloosa26757465
Shelby26612255
Montgomery25739624
Baldwin23810325
Lee16801181
Calhoun15130332
Morgan14941289
Etowah14662368
Marshall12806235
Houston11515292
Elmore10654217
St. Clair10521251
Limestone10472158
Cullman10257204
Lauderdale9991253
DeKalb9298191
Talladega8739187
Walker7594286
Autauga7419113
Jackson7269117
Blount7184139
Colbert6583142
Coffee6045131
Dale5326117
Russell465842
Chilton4645117
Covington4579125
Franklin444381
Tallapoosa4379157
Escambia420082
Chambers3852125
Dallas3688163
Clarke364462
Marion3380106
Pike324879
Lawrence3192101
Winston291072
Bibb280165
Geneva271583
Marengo258567
Barbour243461
Pickens239162
Butler236172
Hale231878
Fayette224564
Henry205145
Randolph194944
Cherokee193948
Monroe192141
Washington177139
Macon167552
Crenshaw164458
Clay162559
Cleburne159145
Lamar149538
Lowndes144354
Wilcox129231
Bullock125642
Conecuh118130
Coosa116029
Perry109928
Sumter108032
Greene97836
Choctaw63825
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 77°
Feels Like: 85°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 76°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 82°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 75°
Tuesday more very hot and humid conditions will be the rule across our area. Some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible at times. A few heavy and hefty thunderstorms cannot be ruled out of the question at times.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather