Supporters of China's Uighur Muslims March in Geneva

Elias Hubbard
November 9, 2018

China is being questioned Tuesday by the member countries of the United Nations on its programme of internment of muslim citizens, more and more criticized in the world.

At a United Nations review of the country's human rights record, China characterized the far west region of Xinjiang as a former hotbed of extremism that has been stabilized through "training centers" which help people gain employable skills.

However, while the protest and the accusations presented during the review have demonstrated the growing opposition to China's policies in the Xinjiang region, where more than one million ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs are now being held in internment camps, China has once again rejected the criticisms in regards to its treatment of ethnic Muslims.

Furthermore, on 5 November 2018, the UNPO, along with other organizations like HRW and WUC has released a joint press statement that highlighted the removal of key stakeholder information by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for consideration by the UN member states for the upcoming third Cycle Universal Periodical Review (UPR) of the People's Republic of China.

Washington asks what is "the number of people detained against their will, in all detention facilities in Xinjiang in the past five years".

But an AFP investigation published in October showed that local authorities had bought gear for the centres including police batons, electric cattle prods, handcuffs, pepper spray, stun guns and razor wire.

The Chinese delegation members reiterated Beijing's line that the tough security measures in Xinjiang were necessary to combat extremism and terrorism, and that they did not target any specific ethnic group.

The centres should "teach like a school, be managed like the military, and be defended like a prison", said one official document, quoting Xinjiang's party secretary Chen Quanguo.

"The chinese government must provide answers to the questions of the global community", said AFP Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The UN human rights review is a chance for countries to "focus their firepower on Xinjiang", though its effectiveness will depend on "whether or not there is commitment from the states to push for accountability", she added. China has claims that Xinjiang is under threat from Islamist militants and separatists. Officials in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macao will also be present.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng dismissed the censures.

China also came under scrutiny for other aspects of its human rights record, including its use of the death penalty and a dramatic crackdown on civil liberties and religious freedoms since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. In July 2017, the dissident and Nobel Peace prize victor Liu Xiaobo died in jail of liver cancer.

"China opposes the politicization of Human rights and to double +standards+, and support fairness and worldwide justice", says Beijing, in a report for the review of Tuesday.

In 2015, more than 200 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists were detained or questioned in a sweep known as the "709" crackdown. There is a credible and growing body of evidence - including satellite images and scores of testimonies from families of those missing and individuals previously detained - suggesting that human rights violations are being carried out on a grand scale within the camps.

Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, told Reuters at the event: "The detention of over a million ethnic Uighurs is a tipping point for the worldwide community".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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