As the video of China's 'vocational training centers' in which Uighur Muslims have been allegedly detained went viral, Australia's foreign minister has called the footage "deeply disturbing", reported a local news website in Australia. Australia's foreign minister Marise Payne on Monday told an Australian news website that she has earlier raised the issue of alleged detention of the Uighurs in China. She also added that Australia has 'consistently' called for China to cease the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and other Muslim groups.
"I am aware of the deeply disturbing video that has been published online. I have previously raised Australia's concerns about reports of mass detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim peoples in Xinjiang. We have consistently called for China to cease the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and other Muslim groups. We have raised these concerns - and we will continue to raise them - both bilaterally and in relevant international meetings," Payne said.
Last Tuesday, a video was posted on Twitter and YouTube by an anonymous account called War on Fear. In the video, a group of people reported to be from China's minority Uighur community can be seen hands bound and surrounded by guards. While some doubt the authenticity of the video, some international reports also said that European security sources have found the video to be authentic. By Sunday evening, the video received almost a quarter of a million views.
In a meeting in New York on Monday, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the Asian nations should resist China's demands to repatriate ethnic Uighurs. Pompeo was meeting with foreign ministers of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. He said that as Beijing campaign in the western Chinese region of Xingjiang was an attempt “to erase” minority cultures and religions, Asian nations should speak against it. The meeting took place ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in which Washington is expected to confront China over the issue, as per reports.
At its part, China has accused the Uighurs Muslims of separatism and terrorism in Xinjiang. China has allegedly detained around one million Uighurs, a large Muslim minority group in camps in Xingjiang. Beijing has also been pressuring other countries to send Uighurs back to China. Thailand reportedly sent back approximately 100 Uighurs in 2015. The same year, Afghanistan also deported around 12 Uighur from Kabul, as per reports. It was later reported that the refugees were most likely sent straight to prison upon their return. China also claimed that the detention sites are “vocational training centers” aimed at skill development.