Home Russia & China China Re-education camp: China rejects Turkish claim of Uighur Muslim’s death

Re-education camp: China rejects Turkish claim of Uighur Muslim’s death


News Analysis |

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying has strongly refuted that a 57-year-old Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit has died in the re-education camp which the Chinese government has established in turbulent Xinjiang province. Last week, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy had claimed that Heyit had died during his detention terming the vocational camps established as “torture and political brainwashing camps and prisons.”

The statement was strongly condemned by the Chinese Embassy in Ankara as it asked for the proof of the assertion. Later Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying showed a video in a press conference where the said Uighur musician was seen live and Hua said that it was enough to prove that Turkish claim is baseless.

The Chinese government claims that the purpose of these centers is to equip the population of the province with a skill set which they could use to earn their living, definitely an effective strategy to root out extremism.

She further added that there are 24,400 mosques and 8 religious institutes in Xinjiang, which has a Muslim population of 13 million. It means that there is 1 mosque for 530 Muslims. And she asked Turkey to have an objective look into the matters of national security as the state itself is combating the evil of extremism.

Reason for Re-education Camps in Xinjiang

Xinjiang is the largest region inside the Chinese mainland and it is bordered with Central Asian states, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. Majority of its population are Uighur Muslims who trace their lineage back to Turks rather the Han Chinese which constitutes the majority in the overall Chinese population. Because of a different identity, followed by some policies of the Chinese government which involved resettling of Han Chinese population into the region, the animosity started to spread in the late 90s which eventually led to a separatist movement.

Read more: What does the future hold for Muslim Uighurs of China?

It brought along unrest and violent collision between the state of China and the separatist Uighur Muslims. The movement was finally suppressed by brute force and it culminated into massive surveillance into the region and re-educational or vocational camps, which some people may call as “concentration or detention camps”.

The Chinese government claims that the purpose of these centers is to equip the population of the province with a skill set which they could use to earn their living, definitely an effective strategy to root out extremism. But the critics of these camps opine that the purpose of these camps is to persecute the Muslim population and curbing their freedom.

“Xinjiang is an open region, we welcome all parties, including UN officials, to visit, if they abide by China’s laws and regulations, and go through the proper travel procedures,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Western media outlets have extensively published stories which paint a gruesome picture of torture and oppression in Xinjiang but the element of bias and propaganda which the west has held makes these claims doubtful. At the moment, there are only prevailing rhetoric regarding the nature and objective of these camps, one from the Chinese side which depicts an “all good” picture while the western representation is most heinous human rights violation of contemporary world.

At the start of this year, China had officially invited the United Nations observers to have a first-hand experience of the situation in Xinjiang province but with a condition that they won’t interfere in internal matters of China. This came after UN human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said in December that her office was seeking access to the region to verify reports of re-education camps holding Muslim minorities.

“Xinjiang is an open region, we welcome all parties, including UN officials, to visit, if they abide by China’s laws and regulations, and go through the proper travel procedures,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Read more: Harsh Turkish condemnation of Xinjiang cracks Muslim wall of silence –…

It is very important for China to clear the air about this pressing issue once and for all so that the concerns of Muslim population all around the world regarding the camps can be addressed and a potential source of propaganda for western media could be plugged.

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