The Stream

Have Muslim countries abandoned China’s Uighurs?

Responding to criticism over Uighur abuse, 37 nations signed a letter defending China’s human rights record in July – including a dozen Muslim-majority countries.

On Monday, August 12 at 19:30 GMT:
More nations are speaking out against China’s brutal crackdown on its Uighur population. But some surprising voices are piping up in support of the country’s policies.

There are some 11 million Uighers in China. They are an ethnic Muslim minority who have lived in the northwest Xinjiang province for centuries. Resource-rich Xinjiang is important to the government, which says it’s trying to maintain stability and prevent “extremism violence.”

In recent years, Uighur survivors have recounted gruesome experiences of torture and indoctrination at internment camps. Uighurs are also subjected to constant government surveillance and restrictions on their religious practice, according to rights groups.

“If right now, just about any other country in the world was found to be detaining over 1 million Muslims of a certain ethnicity, you can bet we’d be seeing an international outcry,” said Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch, in May.

But, until recently, the world has mostly shrugged off the news of China’s secret detention centers. Then in July, 22 countries sent a letter to the United Nations condemning the camps, the strongest international response to date. However, 37 other nations responded with a counter-letter defending China’s human rights records – including a dozen Muslim-majority countries.

Critics say leaders in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and other nations are capitulating to China’s economic and political clout. But is it more than that? In this episode, we ask, have Muslim countries abandoned China’s Uighurs?

Read more:
Why Are Some Muslim Countries Standing in Solidarity With China? – Vice
China claims it’s released most Muslims from internment camps. That’s doubtful. – Vox
China Rebuked by 22 Nations Over Xinjiang Repression – New York Times

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