Human Rights Watch: Uyghur Muslims still under threat of arrest in China

Questions about the disappearance of members of Muslim families in the Chinese region of Xinjiang remain unanswered, and reports of suspicious arrests continue to appear despite the Chinese government’s claims that detention campaigns targeting Uighurs, which were widely condemned, have ended.

The Chinese government has stated that the camps in the western region of China are summer training centers where “students” voluntarily receive training in new skills.

In 2019, the Chinese Communist Party said that the inmates had graduated and most of them had good job opportunities.

However, the Uyghur news website confirmed that arrests are still ongoing, and that satellite-captured images indicate that some of the sites previously classified as detention centers are still in place, and that many people who were chased by the police are still missing.

Maya Wang, Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told the news site, “the Uyghurs are still extremely discouraged and broken.”

Approximately 1.8 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs have allegedly been sent to camps, and recent information collected suggests that Uighurs continue to face widespread persecution, despite years of international pressure on China to alleviate the difficult conditions faced by this group and the rest of the Muslim communities in the Xinjiang region.

The United States has described this crackdown, which reached its peak between 2017 – 2018, as a genocide, and that the aim of the campaign is to obliterate the traditions and culture of an entire people through persecution.

A 2022 report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights found that “serious human rights violations” were committed against Uyghurs and other Muslim communities in the Xinjiang region, and the report also confirmed cases of torture, forced medical operations and rape. However, China responded to the report as “based on false and distorted information by anti-Chinese powers”.

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