Beijing, China, Jul 24, 2019 / 11:15 am
An article published Wednesday in a state-run paper from mainland China repeated government talking points regarding the situations of the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnoreligious group in the country's northwest.
Some 1 million Uighurs have been detained in re-education camps for Muslims in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uyghurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology.
Uighurs can be arrested and detained under vague anti-terrorism laws. Violence in the region escalated in the 1990s and again in 2008.
In August 2014 officials in Karamay, a city of Xinjiang, banned “youths with long beards” and anyone wearing headscarves, veils, burqas, or clothes with the crescent moon and star symbol from using public transit. That May, universities across the region banned fasting during Ramadan.
The Chinese government has said reports on the camps by Western governments and media are unfounded, claiming they are vocational training centers and that it is combatting extremism.
Li Yang, an author at China Daily, an English language daily owned by the Communist Party of China, wrote July 24 that “Western critics of China's policies on human rights and religious freedom in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region seem to be divorced from the realities of the situation.”
Li's piece focused on “Uygur separatists” who try “to brainwash the other Uygurs with extremism and terrorism.”
He said that “all the measures that Beijing has taken to fight separatism, extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang are part of the global anti-terrorism campaign, as well as an integral part of China's efforts to boost local development.”