Germany’s Lawmakers Set To Hold Session On Situation Of Uyghurs In China’s Xinjiang

In a bid to further pressurise China over the human rights abuses of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the German Parliament on Saturday is set to discuss the situation of the Muslim ethnic minority. In a press conference organised ahead of the session by Enver Can of Ilham Tohti Initiative, the participants elaborated on the degrading situation of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

They also talked about the torture, religious restrictions, cultural cleansing, forced abortions and sterilization of ethnic minorities in the country ruled by a Communist government. The conference witnessed the participation of several people including the camp survivor Sayragul Sauytbay, author Alexandra Cavelius, researcher Adrian Zenz, Uyghur American attorney Nury Turkel, and Prof Marie Holzman, reported ANI.

It is expected that the German Parliament’s session on Uyghurs might create some monumental pressure on China, especially considering that nations such as Canada agave already passed resolutions terming the atrocities in Xinjiang as “genocide”. Triggering widespread condemnation for its actions, China had launched a brutal crackdown that has swept over one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs along with other Muslim minorities into detention camps and prisons in Xinjiang. However, Beijing took measures against the ethnic minorities under the pretext of fighting Islamist extremism.

China has been accused of imposing forced labour, mass internment, forced birth control, erasing Uyghur cultural and religious identity along with genocide. However, the Xi Jinping-led government in China has categorically denied all accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang saying that the camps are actually for ‘re-education’. Beijing has further refuted global criticism of its actions by calling it ‘interference’ in its internal matters.

China criticises UNHCR’s Xinjiang visit

Earlier, indicating its double standard, China asked Sweden to respect the “religious beliefs” of Muslims and other minority groups while the mainland is already listed among the worst human rights abusers in the world by UN Human Rights Watch. According to The Hong Kong Post, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on April 20 asked Sweden to “earnestly respect” Muslims’ religious beliefs in the wake of anti-Muslim riots on April 15-16.

However, the media report noted how Wenbin took a drastic U-turn from his remarks when United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet planned to visit Xinjiang in May. UN has previously stated that China is believed to have detained at least a million Uyghurs and other members of Muslim ethnic minority groups in the country’s remote area of Xinjiang. Several reports about human rights abuses of Muslim minority groups in China have emerged repeatedly, including forced labour.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson chastised Bachelet for her desire to visit Xinjiang in an obvious move to stonewall the UNHCR’s wishes. Five days after Wenbin gave a “soulful lecture” to Sweden, he said, “the goal of the High Commissioner’s visit [China] is to promote exchange and cooperation. We are opposed to political manipulation by exploiting the matter,” The Hong Kong Post reported.

The media report went on to note that it is evident China is egregiously worried if Michelle Bachelet visits Xinjiang which could create an ‘awkward situation’ for Beijing and would become hard for it to defend and indefensible. However, at the same time, as per the report, China tried to express its concern for the “lawful rights and interest” of Muslims in Sweden.

Image: AP