China denies atrocities against Muslim Uyghurs

By Monitoring Desk
Wednesday – August 15, 2018
BEIJING (China): Chinese foreign office (FO) spokesman Lu Kang on Tuesday denied having committed atrocities against Muslim minority in Xinjiang assuming that certain anti-China forces have made unwarranted charges against China for political purposes and a few overseas media smeared China’s measures to fight terrorism and crimes in Xinjiang through their distorted reports of the united nations (UN) sponsored committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (CERD) review, which is out of “ulterior motives”.

According to Kang, the UN CERD reviewed China’s report on the implementation of the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in Geneva on August 10 and 13, 2018.

The Chinese delegation expounded on the new progress China has made in protecting the rights and interests of the ethnic minorities and the CERD recognised what China has done and achieved for the implementation of the UN convention.

“Xinjiang enjoys social stability, economic growth and harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups” mentioning “People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang cherish their peaceful and prosperous life” adding “Any rumor and slander will turn out to be ‘futile’,” Kang concluded.

A human rights watch (HRW) report on June 21 mentioned the submission to the CERD review of China at the 96th session of the committee on the elimination of racial discrimination and mentioned, “The ethnic Muslim minority population in Xinjiang is systematically discriminated against by the government of China.”

According to HRW, all points stem from China’s obligations under international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (ICERD) article 5, which requires that, “States parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law.”

On the right to equal treatment before tribunals and all other organs administering justice, Chinese authorities often punish ethnic Muslim Uyghurs for conduct that is neither criminal nor prosecuted in the same manner as members of the ethnic Han majority.

In Xinjiang, authorities have arbitrarily detained, outside of any recognisable criminal violation or legal proceedings, at least tens of thousands of Muslim Uyghurs in “political education centers.”

Held for months at a time, and unable to contact family or lawyers, these detainees are subjected to extensive lectures on “Xi Jinping thought” and Chinese communist party (CP) rhetoric, and forced to make expressions of loyalty to the Chinese government. 

HRW has documented the detention of children and general ill-treatment in these facilities, the existence of which the Chinese government denies.

On the right to security of person and protection by the state against violence or bodily harm, Chinese authorities have frequently subjected Muslim Uyghurs to public humiliation and physical abuse.

Prominent Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti is serving a life sentence in Xinjiang on trumped-up charges of ‘separatism’.  Since being detained in January 2014, professor Tohti has periodically been denied food, shackled, and been barred adequate medical treatment. 

On the right to freedom of movement, the Chinese government subjects Muslim Uyghurs to strict controls on their movements inside China and outside the country, including limitations on access to passports, and has pressured other governments to forcibly return individuals to China without due process.

Chinese authorities require some Muslim Uyghurs to give deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples and other biodata to obtain passports, and also confiscate Muslim Uyghur passports as a means of arbitrarily punishing them. 

China has also effectively made it an offense for Muslim Uyghurs to spend time overseas, as that has become one criteria for arbitrary detention in “political education centers.” 

HRW has also extensively documented often-successful efforts by the Chinese government to pressure other governments to forcibly return Muslim Uyghurs who are seeking ‘asylum’ abroad. 

On the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, Chinese authorities have long equated Uyghurs’ adherence to ‘Islam’ as evidence of “political disloyalty,” which has manifested itself in discriminatory laws and governmental practices.

In 2017 Xinjiang authorities issued a list of names for Muslim children now banned for fear that they could “exaggerate religious fervor.” 

Restrictions on the practice of Islam in Xinjiang are pervasive, people in Xinjiang can no longer wear abnormal beards or ‘veils’ in public; “civil servants, teachers, and students are ‘banned’ from ‘fasting’ during Ramazan”; the state maintains total control over religious texts, leaders, and facilities, and most mosques now feature closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.