Pakistan urged its ally China this week to take steps against the alleged human rights abuses and repression of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, marking one of the first public criticisms from a predominantly Muslim country of Beijing’s policy in the province.
China has reportedly forced up to one million members of the Muslim Uighur minority group into “re-education camps,” also known as “mind-transformation centers.” Bejing denies the accusations, claiming those imprisoned are undergoing “vocational” training.
Referring to the internment camps, the Nation from Pakistan reported on Thursday, “This includes programs that focus on psychological indoctrination. There have been reports of waterboarding and other forms of torture as well.”
The Guardian acknowledged:
Criticism of Beijing has increased after a UN panel last month cited “credible reports” that as many as 1 million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities are being held in internment camps. Activists, researchers, and media outlets have documented mass detentions, surveillance, and suppression of cultural and religious life in Xinjiang.
Citing the Nation, the Guardian noted on Friday that Pakistan has also criticized China for its Uighur policy, urging Beijing to soften restrictions on the minority in Xinjiang subsequent to the reports of abuses and repression.
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a region claimed by Islamabad, New Delhi, and Beijing, shares a border with Xinjiang.
The Nation revealed:
Pakistan has demanded China to soften restrictions on Chinese Muslims living in Xinjiang province. Federal Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri while meeting Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said that strict regulations and laws fuel extremism and in order to curb intolerance and promote religious harmony China should deal with patience.
Pakistan, which is known to harbor Islamic terrorist groups, reportedly offered to deploy a delegation of religious scholars into China to help its ally combat extremism and promote “moderate” Islam.
According to the Guardian, Pakistan’s position on the treatment of Uighurs in China marked “one of the first public criticisms from a majority Muslim country over China’s policies in the western territory.”
“Allegations of human rights abuses and widespread repression in Xinjiang have prompted international protest, but few Muslim-majority countries have spoken out,” the newspaper added.
Islamabad has demanded that Beijing take “urgent steps for the release of over 50 Chinese wives” of Pakistani men arrested in Xinjiang.
“The Pakistanis, most of them doing import and export businesses between Pakistan and China, are married to Muslim women,” the Nation reported. “The Chinese police arrested these women last year and earlier.”
China rejected the U.N.’s assertion in late August that it is holding up to one million Uighurs in “re-education” camps against their will.
On Wednesday, Beijing again defended its policies in Xinjiang, China’s largest province.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared:
The series of measures implemented in Xinjiang are meant to improve stability, development, solidarity and people’s livelihood, crack down on ethnic separatist activities and violent and terrorist crimes, safeguard national security, and protect people’s life and property. Xinjiang enjoys social stability, sound economic growth and harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups. People there enjoy full freedom of religious belief.
The spokesman argued that an increase in tourism to Xinjiang “proves the sound situation” in the province, adding, “If Xinjiang were unsafe, unstable and inharmonious, there wouldn’t have been so many Chinese and foreign visitors going there.”
On Wednesday, China’s state-run Global Times touted what it described as a dramatically improved security situation in the province of Xinjiang.
In July, the Global Times urged Pakistan to adopt China’s Xinjiang policies to protect Chinese nationals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a component of Beijing’s multi-trillion dollar One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
While Islamabad has offered to send a delegation into China to help the country combat extremism, Beijing argues that its CPEC project will ultimately end jihad in Pakistan.