Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday for the opening of this year’s Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting.
Pakistan invited China to participate despite not being an Islamic country and currently actively engaging in genocide against Muslim minority groups.
The Chinese Communist Party has for decades repressed the Uyghur population of East Turkistan, which is majority Muslim, and other ethnic groups in the occupied region, which it refers to as Xinjiang. Extensive evidence from eyewitness testimonies, satellite evidence, and leaked documents suggests that the Communist Party began building concentration camps in East Turkistan around 2017 to house Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz people, among other minorities. At their peak, the at least 1,200 concentration camps housed as many as 3 million people. Witnesses say that detainees in the camps were subject to extreme torture, forced abortions and sterilization, slavery, and communist indoctrination, among other abuses.
Chinese Communist Party policies in East Turkistan explicitly target Islam. Chinese officials have destroyed historic Uyghur mosques throughout the region, replacing them with secular installations such as hotels and toilets. Officials have decorated the mosques allowed to remain with banners promoting communism, dictator Xi Jinping, and alleged ethnic “unity.” Individuals with identifiable Islamic appearances – such as sporting beards or women’s head coverings – face police action.
China claims that all escaped survivors of the camps are actors and that the concentration camps are “vocational training centers.”
This explanation has largely been enough for Muslim world leaders, who have not objected in any meaningful way to the genocide and this week invited China into the largest international venue for Islamic countries.
Pakistan’s top diplomat Qureshi proudly announced on social media that Wang’s attendance in Islamabad was the first time China participated in the OIC’s ministerial-level conference. Pakistan is an Islamist country whose prime minister, Imran Khan, has called for global laws banning blaspheming against Islam and praised al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as a “martyr.” Khan has endorsed the Uyghur genocide in the past and his national security adviser once called the genocide a “non-issue.”
Pleased to welcome my friend #WangYi State Councilor & FM of #China as special guest for #OICInPakistan. This is the first time China is participating in an @OIC_OCI CFM & I am confident that interactions with OIC country counterparts will further strengthen engagement. #OIC48CFM pic.twitter.com/nfUfCKv8v3
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) March 21, 2022
According to a readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Qureshi praised China-Pakistan relations as being “at their best in history” and called ties with China the “cornerstone” of Pakistani foreign policy. Qureshi also allegedly agreed to “resolutely crack down” on the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement” (ETIM), an alleged Uyghur terrorist organization that the U.S. government removed from its official list of terror groups in 2020 on the grounds that no evidence suggests that it exists. China nonetheless strongarms allied countries into condemning the non-existent group and addressing it as a true threat that justifies the genocide of the Uyghur people.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang described Chinese-Pakistani relations as “unbreakable and rock-solid” during his meeting with Qureshi.
“Wang Yi congratulated Pakistan on hosting the session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, noting that this highlights Pakistan’s role as a bridge between the Islamic world and oriental civilizations,” the readout continued. “The presence of Chinese Foreign Minister upon invitation is a testament to the high level of exchanges between China and the Islamic world and the great importance China attaches to strengthening relations with Islamic countries.”
Wang, China’s Xinhua news agency reported, said that “China and the Islamic world both enjoy a profound history, seek similar values and share historic missions.”
Xinhua, a government news organization, also reported that Wang and Qureshi agreed to “strengthen coordination” on Ukraine, without elaborating. Key Chinese ally Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February that continues to this day; China has yet to condemn it while enthusiastically describing itself as a friend to Kyiv. The report did not clarify what role the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and China together would plan in “coordination” with Ukraine.
At press time, no country participating in the OIC meeting has condemned Wang’s presence there or China’s eradication of Islam and genocide of the Uyghur people.
The World Uyghur Congress, an advocacy organization for the ethnic group, condemned China’s anticipated presence at the OIC ministerial meeting on Monday.
“In the face of the genocide being carried out against the Uyghur people by the Chinese government, the presence of Wang Yi at the OIC Council undermines the credibility and international standing of the OIC,” the World Uyghur Congress asserted in a statement.
The president of the group, Dolkun Isa, condemned China’s “coercive influence amongst Muslim-majority governments” and lamented that the OIC would cease to “be a trustworthy voice of the Muslim world,” if it continued to ignore the genocide of a majority-Muslim ethnic group and the elimination of Islam itself in East Turkistan, through the demolition of mosques and outlawing Islamic practices such as fasting for Ramadan in public.
The theme of this year’s OIC ministers’ meeting is “Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development.”
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