China Warns U.N. to Ignore U.S. Condemnation of Muslim Concentration Camps

This picture taken on October 10, 2017 shows a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition showcasing China's progress in the past five years at the Beijing Exhibition Center. China's police and censorship organs have kicked into high gear to ensure that the party's week-long, twice-a-decade congress goes …
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty

China’s Global Times, a government-run publication, published a screed in anticipation of Tuesday’s U.N. General Assembly condemning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as an “arrogant interventionist” for urging the world to pressure China to shut down its concentration camps for Muslims.

The Chinese Communist Party has built thousands of concentration camps for ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz nationals who adhere to the Islamic faith where they face indoctrination, torture, slave labor, death, and potentially live organ harvesting. The U.S. government has estimated that between 1 and 3 million people are currently languishing in a Chinese concentration camp. Beijing insists the camps are “vocational training centers” where prisoners learn to worship the Communist Party, a valuable skill in the Chinese economy.

Pompeo addressed the situation in a meeting anticipating the General Assembly’s general debate on Tuesday. Ambassador-at-large for religious freedom Sam Brownback also condemned China in a separate event on freedom of worship and urged Islamic states, in particular, to speak up for their fellow believers against an increasingly belligerent China.

“The U.N. General Assembly is held in New York, and thus U.S. political elite like Pompeo think the general assembly would agree to whatever the U.S. says,” the Global Times complained. “Washington’s elite arrogantly declare that their human rights concept is universal. They do not admit that conflicts between their human rights concept and the diverse reality have created destructive side effects.”

“When Pompeo spoke on the Xinjiang question, most people saw him as a Western centralist and an arrogant interventionist,” the Times declared.

Acknowledging that the United Nations would not be able to exist without America – “The U.S. has provided the venue for the U.N. and is the largest financial contributor to the U.N.” – the Chinese propaganda outlet nonetheless insisted that “the U.N. does not owe the U.S. anything.”

“The U.S. could ask the U.N. to move out of the country if Washington feels wronged,” the Global Times derisively suggested.

Instead of discussing what is arguably the single worst crime against humanity currently underway, the Global Times suggests that the world use the General Assembly to condemn America for damaging the environment.

“The US should be blamed during this year’s general assembly because it has been jeopardizing the globe’s actions on climate change,” the Times argued. “Washington should not use the Xinjiang question to distract the attention of the international community.”

China is the world’s worst polluter and has worked to increase carbon emissions; China is not expected to reduce emissions until at least 2030.

During a meeting with Central Asian leaders on Sunday, Pompeo took a moment to condemn China’s alleged war on terror in Xinjiang, which it uses to excuse the concentration camps.

“I want to make clear that China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism,” Pompeo said. “It’s about China’s attempt – about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens’ Muslim faith and culture. We call on all countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate Uighurs.”

At a United Nations event on religious freedom the next day, Pompeo gave the stage to Jewher Ilham – whose father, a Uighur scholar, has been imprisoned in China for years under the charges of “separatism.” In a rare example of China bothering to issue a legal sentencing, Ilham Tohti, Ilham’s father, was sentenced to life in prison for his anti-communist advocacy.

“It has become a crime to be Uighur in China,” Ilham explained at the State Department event. “The Chinese Government targets religion to ensure that people of faith do not answer to any greater power than the Communist Party. In China, authorities have defaced or demolished churches, temples, and mosques throughout the country. Crosses and minarets have been replaced with hammers and sickles.”

“Beijing believes Islam is a sickness to be treated with an iron fist. Uighurs are detained for praying to God, fasting during Ramadan, wearing a beard, or simply saying as-salamu alaykum,” Ilham continued. “Every day, millions of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China are being abused, drugged, and indoctrinated in the government’s concentration camps. Outside of these camps, they’re monitored and tracked using high-tech surveillance.”

In his event this week, Ambassador Brownback noted that many Islamic countries that benefit from business with China have been silent about the Communist Party’s repression of China’s Muslim minority.

“I’m very disappointed that a number of nations have signed a letter saying that what the Chinese are doing with the Uighurs is fine,” Brownback said. “I’m stunned, because you’ve got a million people in concentration camps in 2019 and you’re not concerned about this?”

Nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which heavily depend on Chinese business, have not condemned Beijing for human rights abuses against Muslims.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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