Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria and Myanmar among countries defending China's actions in Xinjiang

Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria and Myanmar among countries defending China's actions in Xinjiang
Published: 16 July 2019 (98 Views)
Ambassadors representing 37 countries praised China for its "remarkable achievements in the field of human rights," just a day after a group of 22 other countries formally condemned Beijing for the mass detention of ethnic and religious minorities in the country's Xinjiang region.

The Thursday letter was the first major collective international challenge to China's ongoing policy in its far western border region, where experts estimate up to 2 million people have been detained in vast re-education style camps. Many of those detained are ethnic Uyghurs and Muslims.

Beijing denies any allegations of torture or political indoctrination, and says the camps are "vocational training centers" designed to fight terrorism and combat Islamic extremism.

China's partners backed that claim in their Friday letter, claiming the signatories to the Thursday statement were politicizing human rights issues, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

In their letter, the 37 envoys commended China's efforts in "protecting human and promoting human rights through development," echoing a common refrain used in Chinese state media.

"The past three consecutive years has seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security," the envoys said.

The countries backing China included several accused of human rights violations. Among those listed are Saudi Arabia, accused of jailing and executing dissidents and critics of the regime; Russia, accused of cracking down on individual freedoms and killing critics of President Vladimir Putin; Myanmar, accused of carrying out crimes against humanity targeting the minority Rohingya community inside the country; Syria, where the Bashar al Assad regime has been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians; and North Korea, which is accused of detaining more than 100,000 political prisoners in a gulag-like facilities.

"The pro-China signatories include a rogues' gallery of rights abusing countries that have zero credibility when it comes to human rights," Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Pearson said it appears the letter criticizing China "touched a nerve."

"Clearly the Chinese government is feeling so insecure that it needs to issue a statement praising itself," she said.



'Sensitive and concerned'
Allegations of torture inside the Xinjiang camps are rampant. Accounts given to CNN by former detainees describe forced reeducation under the threat of violence.

The reports, however, have been difficult to independently corroborate. Though the Chinese government has provided limited access to journalists and foreign diplomats in strictly guided tours of the facilities, access to Xinjiang is tightly controlled, amid growing surveillance and a prominent police presence.

Top UN officials including Michelle Bachelet have called for the global body to be given access to the camps to investigate allegations of human rights abuses.
James Leibold, a professor at Australia's La Trobe University who specializes in modern Chinese history and society, said Beijing is likely seeking help from its international partners in order to bolster its arguments.

"They've always been sensitive and concerned about how they are viewed internationally, and I think the entire Xinjiang story and the amount of press it's gotten internationally has really disturbed policy makers in Beijing," Leibold said.

"It's not enough for them to say it themselves, they want to get their allies and supporters internationally to also back that claim ... particularly in the Muslim world, where I think they need to make sure that the wider Islamic community doesn't start to question what's happening in Xinjiang, to see China as anti-Islam."

The Thursday letter expressing concern about "credible reports of arbitrary detention ... as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions" was co-signed by mostly Western and European countries.

The 37 countries who signed the letter backing China included several Muslim majority nations, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Pakistan.

CNN's Yong Xiong, Jadyn Sham and Ben Westcott contributed reporting

- CNN

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Rare solidarity for jailed Chief Ndiweni

by Mandla Ndlovu | 25 August 2019 | 89 Views

Phumuzile Phiri geared to grab Mangwe constituency from ZANU PF

by Mandla Ndlovu | 25 August 2019 | 78 Views

Horror start for Rahman Gumbo

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 111 Views

Chapungu humiliate CAPS United

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 97 Views

Namibian expert raps MDC-Alliance

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 125 Views

PSC revamps civil service training

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 103 Views

John Nkomo Museum stalls due to funding challenges

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 75 Views

Borehole drilling company dupes clients

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 73 Views

Duo in fake birth certificates scam

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 69 Views

Stay loyal to Dr Nkomo, vote Zanu-PF, says Khaya Moyo

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 63 Views

The science of winning by-elections

by Michael Mhlanga | 25 August 2019 | 60 Views

Woman raped as lover flees

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 78 Views

Pastor defrauds congregants

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 67 Views

Zimbabwe's Commonwealth bid on course

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 71 Views

Zimbabwe Sables on a roll

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 72 Views

Zimbabwe's re-engagement bearing fruits

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 107 Views

When Excellencies grace Chitungwiza shebeen

by Bishop Lazi | 25 August 2019 | 97 Views

Zimbabwe begins grain imports

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 80 Views

SMM to resume asbestos exports

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 83 Views

US Tendai Biti to take over from Chamisa ahead of 2023 polls?

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 83 Views

Mugabe's no to GMOs, position unchanged

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 85 Views

'The path had to be set for Mugabe'

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 80 Views

Mnangagwa's latest bid to arrest price distortions

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 63 Views

'Austerity ends in 2019,' says Muthuli Ncube

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 77 Views

More flights for Bulawayo

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 54 Views

Mnangagwa to meet Shinzo Abe

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 75 Views

We cannot afford to have idle, unproductive land - Mnangagwa

by Emmerson D Mnangagwa | 25 August 2019 | 75 Views

Louis Mhlanga excited at Bulawayo return

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 44 Views

Banana's wife gets new wheels from Mnangagwa's govt

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 77 Views

Electricity woes to ease as Zesa fixes station

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 67 Views

Kambarami frustrates Town Clerk again

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 73 Views

Zanu-PF Zaka East candidate confident

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 43 Views

How to think in Dark Times

by Cetshwayo Mabhena | 25 August 2019 | 65 Views

Mnangagwa's govt censures EU ambassadors

by Staff reporter | 25 August 2019 | 52 Views

Zimbabweans do not read assertion is nonsensical

by Dennis Shoko | 25 August 2019 | 57 Views

The Chief can do no wrong

by L Dube | 25 August 2019 | 69 Views