Protect Islamist groups, detain Uighur Muslims: US slams China's "hypocrisy"

Shalini Ojha

Protect Islamist groups, detain Uighur Muslims: US slams China

28 Mar 2019: Protect Islamist groups, detain Uighur Muslims: US slams China's "hypocrisy"

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday asked China to end the practice of detaining Uighur Muslims in camps and said the world can't handle its hypocrisy.

Pompeo made the comments after meeting former detainees and their relatives and called on China to end their repression.

He reminded that China protected Islamist groups from sanctions at the UN.

Here's more.

Detention: China has been jailing Uighur Muslims for months

Uighur Muslims, who are ethnically Turkic Muslims, have been subject to gross human rights violation in China.

In 2018, the UN learned that China detained nearly one million Uighur Muslims in camps at Xinjiang for "re-education" programs.

According to rights groups, these people are forced to learn Mandarin and renounce their religion. They are often subjected to violence and torture.

Torture: Electrocution and beating: Woman described the ordeal of detainees

The horrendous plight of the detainees came to light after one Mihrigul Tursun spoke up publicly. She was detained in 2015 when she went to visit her relatives in China.

In the camp, Tursun was kept with nearly 60 other women; was electrocuted, suffered beatings, and her head was shaved off as well.

"I begged them to kill me," Tursun said last year.

Escape: Tursun managed to tell her story

After months of torture, Tursun was allowed to take her children to Egypt but was ordered to return. On reaching Cairo, Tursun got in touch with US officials and managed to settle in Virginia.

Till Tursun's story hadn't come to light, China had dismissed the existence of such detention camps.

Recently, Pompeo spoke to Tursun and three other people whose relatives have been detained.

Statement: World cannot afford China's hypocrisy: Pompeo

Speaking to reporters, Pompeo said he was "certain" at least hundreds of thousands of Uighurs have been arbitrarily detained.

"The world cannot afford China's shameful hypocrisy toward Muslims. On one hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other, it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN," Pompeo said, hinting at the Masood Azhar episode.

Fact: China saved Azhar for the fourth time

Earlier this month, China put a "technical hold" on Azhar's listing as UN-designated terrorist for the fourth time. China chose to side with Azhar despite his organization, Jaish-e-Mohammed, taking responsibility for the Pulwama attack. The move irked many in the global arena.

China's stand: Earlier this month, China claimed centers will soon disappear

Notably, Human rights groups have also claimed that China snatched Kurans from Muslims and forced them to eat pork, which is forbidden in Islam.

Under pressure from the international community, a Chinese official said earlier this month that eventually the "vocational training centers" will be "phased out".

Denying rights violations, Beijing has maintained the motive of the centers is to contain religious extremism.

Fact: Will have fewer and fewer people at these centers: China

"Generally speaking, we will have fewer and fewer people at these centers and if one day the society no longer needs them, then these training centers will gradually disappear," said the chairman of the Xinjiang government, Shohrat Zakir, a few days ago.