China has been accused of allegedly detaining up to one million Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region under what UN experts have called the "pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism".

Over the past decade, human rights groups have documented widespread repression of this Turkic ethnic minority, from banning religious customs, to forcing many Uighurs to change their names and attend Communist party rallies.

Beijing, however, denies allegations of mass detentions and discrimination. It says the strict security measures in Xinjiang are aimed at "preserving stability" and preventing deadly attacks.

For Nury Turkel, chairman of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, China's actions are very questionable.

"Locking up a few million people in concentration camps under the claim of achieving social stability and national security ... doesn't make any sense," said Turkel.

However, Victor Gao, vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, said Xinjiang is being threatened by "terrorism and extremism and separatism".

"I think the authorities have the right to make sure that the innocent people are not harmed, and that extreme [versions] of religion of all kinds [are] not penetrating through the population."

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Source: Al Jazeera News