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Xinjiang Garners Global Attention

Since October 2017, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has been marked by intensified surveillance of Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority. According to scholar Rian Thum, an ‘entire culture is being criminalised’, as reports have emerged that up to one million Uyghurs have been detained in political reeducation camps. Prominent Uyghur figures, such as Professor Rahile Dawut, football star Erfan Hezim, and musician Abdurehim Heyit are all believed to be currently held in such camps. Until recently, this has been met with silence from the international community. However, in August the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination released a report expressing concern, and called for the immediate release of all wrongfully and unlawfully detained individuals, as well as for the end of ethno-religious profiling. Likewise, in September, Human Rights Watch—an NGO based in the United States—released an extensive report detailing and providing evidence about the Chinese government’s mass internment camps; abuse and mistreatment of ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities; as well as the increasingly intrusive controls on everyday life in Xinjiang. Government leaders in Muslim countries—in particular Malaysia and Pakistan—have also expressed concern. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has continued to deny all allegations, and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has discredited the reports as ‘onesided information’, claiming instead that the Autonomous Region is currently ‘enjoying overall social stability, sound economic development, and harmonious coexistence of different ethnic groups’. The Ministry further stated that the ‘policies and measures in Xinjiang are aimed at preserving stability, promoting development and unity, and improving livelihood.’ TS

(Sources: CNN; Human Rights Watch; Radio Free Asia 1; Radio Free Asia 2; Reuters; SupChina; The Economist; The Independent; The New York Times 1; The New York Times 2)

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