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UK demands China give UN access to Muslim detention camps

Wednesday November 27, 2019

The UK has called on China to give UN observers “immediate and unfettered access” to detention camps where up to a million Uighur Muslims are being held.

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It comes after leaked Communist Party documents showed how Uighurs and other ethnic minorities are cut off from their families and subjected to systematic brainwashing at camps in Xinjiang.

The official files, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, also show how suspects are identified – often before they have committed a crime – through a digital mass surveillance programme.

They are then incarcerated under strict rules, with a memo from Xinjiang’s top security chief explaining how to prevent escapes, maintain security about the camps’ existence and how to monitor and control various aspects of the detainee’s lives.

Responding to the release of the documents, the Foreign Office said it had “serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the Chinese government’s escalating crackdown, in particular the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities”.
A spokesperson said: “We want to see an end to the indiscriminate and disproportionate restrictions on the cultural and religious freedoms of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
“The UK continues to call on China to allow UN observers immediate and unfettered access to the region.”

Earlier this year, the UK led 22 other countries at the UN in issuing a joint statement condemning China’s detention of Muslims.

Other signatories included Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan.
The leaked Chinese government documents also lay out strict rules for what it claimed were “vocational education and training centres” in Xinjiang.

It says: “The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed.
“Implement behavioural norms and discipline requirements for getting up, roll call, washing, going to the toilet, organising and housekeeping, eating, studying, sleeping, closing the door and so forth.”

The documents appear to support testimony from former detainees as well as satellite imagery.

The Chinese embassy in London called the documents “pure fabrication and fake news,” The Guardian reported.

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