‘Frankly, I Don’t Know Much’: Imran Khan on China’s Uighur Muslims
At least one million Uighur Muslims have allegedly been detained in China’s Xinjiang region.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday, 27 March, refused to comment on China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, stating that he does not know much about it.
“Frankly, I don’t know much about it,” said Khan, when asked about it during an interview with Financial Times.
When the interviewer pointed that Turkey has been a vocal opponent of the issue and has commented that it was a “great shame on humanity,” the cricketer-turned-politician added:
“If I had enough knowledge about it I would comment, but I don’t.”
Who Are the Uighurs?
A United Nations Committee in August 2018, heard that at least one million Uighur Muslims, among other Muslim groups were allegedly detained in Xinjiang, a region location in China.
The committee heard that they were undergoing “re-education” – where they are being forced to learn Mandarin and renounce their faith, reported BBC.
China, on the other hand, denies these claims. The country asserts that there are no such internment camps but claims that people in Xinjiang are receiving "vocational training".
US Blasts China’s ‘Shameful Hypocrisy’ on Muslims
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on 27 March, chided China's "shameful hypocrisy" over its treatment of Muslims in the Communist nation while protecting violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions by the United Nations.
Pompeo was apparently referring to China blocking a proposal to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed's chief Masood Azhar as a 'global terrorist' at the UN Security Council earlier this month.
“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 in a tweet, without mentioning the JeM or the outfit’s chief.
Pompeo made the statement soon after he met a former prisoner and relatives who recounted abuses as part of Beijing's widespread detention of its Uighur minority in resource-rich Xinjiang.
China, Pompeo alleged, has detained more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang since April 2017.
China Rubbishes Claims
Pompeo's comments are "extremely absurd and grossly interfere in China's internal affairs," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing on 28 March.
“Currently, the overall situation in Xinjiang society is stable... and all ethnic groups get along harmoniously. We urge the US to respect the facts... and stop the malicious smearing and groundless accusations against the Chinese side,” he said.
After months denying the existence of the internment camps, Beijing last year launched a public relations campaign to defend its "training centres", organising visits for diplomats and media from friendly countries.
However, a delegation of three EU officials who visited Xinjiang in January as part of a carefully organised visit said they had the impression that the people they had spoken to in a "training centre" were reciting a dictated speech.
(With inputs from BBC, PTI)
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