Uighurs’ supporters march as China faces rights review at UN

Activists called for UN member states to pressure China this week to account for alleged human rights violations including the suspected mass detention of one million Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province. — File

Chinese diplomats to face grilling on Xinjiang camps

This statement sharply contrast with those of former detainees of the centres, who have described them as political indoctrination camps that force them to renounce their faith and to swear loyalty to the Communist Party.

Activists say members of China's Muslim minorities are held involuntarily for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils.

The UN has said that authorities in China have detained nearly a million Uighurs in what are termed as "political camps for indoctrination", which are shrouded in secrecy.

Several activists are calling to the United Nations to pressure China this week to account for all its alleged human rights violations, including the recently reported mass detention of one million Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Washington asks what is "the number of people detained against their will, in all detention facilities in Xinjiang in the past five years".

Britain has asked when China will implement a United Nations racial discrimination panel's recommendation that it "halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in any extra-legal detention facilities".

Beijing previously denied the existence of such camps, but now defends them as "vocational education and training centers" where students study Mandarin, brush up on job skills, and pursue hobbies.

Beijing should "halt massive imprisonment" and "guarantee freedom of religion and belief, including in Tibet and Xinjiang", French Ambassador Francois Rivasseau said.

The Chinese delegation members reiterated Beijing's line that the tough security measures in Xinjiang were necessary to combat extremism and terrorism, and that they did not target any specific ethnic group.

"The Chinese government owes some answers to worldwide questions about Xinjiang", Maya Wang, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP. "States need to demand the truth from China in the UN Human Rights Council review on Tuesday".

The country's foreign minister, Le Yucheng, has further stated, "No country shall dictate the definition of democracy and human rights", and "We will not accept the politically driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases, with total disregard for facts".

"China opposes the politicization of Human rights and to double +standards+, and support fairness and global justice", says Beijing, in a report for the review of Tuesday. Officials in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macao will also be present.

"China is willing to carry out constructive dialogue with all sides in an open and honest spirit", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.

In addition to Xinjiang, China is expected to come under scrutiny for other aspects of its human rights record, especially Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) crackdown on civil liberties and religious freedoms.

In July 2017, dissident activist and Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer while under police custody.

In the most shocking case, Chinese authorities detained activist Cao Shunli in 2013 as she attempted to travel to Geneva ahead of the last UPR review of China's rights record.

The official told Xinhua that the promotion and protection of human rights is a dynamic historical process, and different cultural traditions, historical inheritance and basic national conditions have determined that countries must follow the path of human rights development that suits their own characteristics and set priorities in human rights development at different stages.

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