China legalises its secret mass internment camps for Uighur Muslim minority

13 October, 2018, 08:40 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Beijing denies it is systematically violating rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims

"Regardless of these revisions, I still believe the practice of coercively detaining Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang in "education through transformation centres" not only violates Chinese law but also worldwide legal norms against the extrajudicial deprivation of liberty", Mr Leibold said.

Beijing has come under increased worldwide scrutiny in recent months as the mass scale of its crackdown on ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities living in north-western China became increasingly apparent.

Shortly after a United Nations panel said it had received credible reports that 1 million Uighurs were held in internment camps, senior Communist Party official Hu Lianhe claimed that there are "no such things as re-education centers", but that the country had detained people it considers extremists. Authorities say extremists there have ties to foreign terror groups but have given little evidence to support that. China is up for review by the UN's Human Rights Council in November. Sophie Richardson from Human Rights Watch said the "words on paper outlining grotesque, vast human rights abuses don't deserve the term "law".

China has taken steps to make Muslim prison camps legal - despite allegations detainees are made to condemn their faith.

The regulations say they are for people "influenced by extremism".

A new clause directs the centres to teach the Mandarin language and provide occupational and legal education, as well as "ideological education, psychological rehabilitation and behaviour correction".

The camps are part of a broader attack on Islamic extremism in Xinjiang.

The other 4.5 million Catholics comprise what is often referred to as the "underground" Catholic Church in China, who are dubious of party-sanctioned and elected bishops and their teachings "because they believe legitimate ecclesiastical authority can be conferred only by the Pope's mandate, and they also object to affiliation with the patriotic religious association for Chinese Catholics, the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA)".

The state-run Global Times tabloid on Wednesday cited "experts" as saying that the "pan-halal" tendency blurs the boundary between religion and secular life, making it easy to "fall into the mire of religious extremism".

Tuesday's announcement came a day after local leaders in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, announced the beginning of an anti-halal campaign.

One of the most concerning trends regarding Chinese religious freedom is the Communist Party's policy of "Sinicization", which means that government officials "develop and promote policies aimed at shaping religious practice in China to promote and assimilate to a Chinese cultural (and party) identity".

It said they were poorly fed, and reports of torture were widespread.

China has never officially acknowledged the existence of the camps, but maintains its tough line on Xinjiang is necessary to counter terrorism.

Beijing has spent decades trying to suppress pro-independence sentiment in Xinjiang.


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