In a meeting in New York with five foreign ministers of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the Asian nations should resist China's demands to repatriate ethnic Uighurs as the Beijing campaign in the western Chinese region of Xingjiang was an attempt “to erase” minority cultures and religions. The meeting took place ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in which Washington is reportedly expected to confront China over the issue.
China has accused the Uighurs Muslims of separatism and terrorism in Xinjiang as the ethnic violence has left hundreds of people dead over the past few years. China has allegedly detained around one million Uighurs and members of other largely-Muslim minority groups 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. 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.
A video posted on Youtube a week back appears to show blindfolded Uighur Muslim men being transferred presumably to detention camps by the Chinese police. The men are shown wearing blue and yellow uniforms with clean-shaven heads, sitting in rows on the ground. The human rights group has allegedly accused China's ruling Communist Party of holding up to one million in such camps. The US President Donald Trump's administration has also been considering sanctions against Chinese officials since last year but has held off amid Beijing's threats of retaliation. The video which is also posted on Twitter was captioned “The people of today's society always live under the supervision of the government with high technology. Now we use technology to show the modern society of Xingjiang. People lose their freedom. No hope for the future. How many people in prison.” they further added, “Uighur have no rights in China” and also tagged the Human Rights Watch.
(Inputs from AP)