In the 21st Century, you would hope nations have moved beyond the mass detention of their citizens based on their ethnicity and beliefs.
But in China, a country aiming to portray itself as an upcoming world leader, the practice is rife.
And as RAW reports, the United Nations is stepping up its efforts to uncover just how far Chinese authorities have gone in the name of social cohesion.
Human rights chief seeks change in Xinjiang
At the United Nations Human Rights conference in Geneva this week, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet announced she is seeking access to China ‘to carry out an independent assessment of the continuing reports pointing to wide patterns of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions’ in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.
Xinjiang is at the centre of China’s belt and road initiative, a trillion-dollar project involving a 260-mile railway that will connect eight Asian countries.
The idea is for China to create physical ties with new markets for construction companies, increasing export destinations and ultimately forging strong economic and diplomatic relationships.
Bachelet said stability in the Xinjiang region, which would aid the belt and road initiative, ‘can be facilitated by policies which demonstrate the authorities’ respect of all people’s rights’.
Time to reveal the truth on China’s detention camps
As RAW points out, the detention camps in the Xinjiang region, which are holding around one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims, have been of international concern.
China has tried to label these camps as re-education and training centres designed to curb the risk of Islamic radicals.
Ahmad Shaheed, the UN investigator on religious freedom, is asking China for a visit to the region.
However Sarah Brooks, from the International Service for Human Rights, said ‘we should expect a firm rebuke from the Chinese delegation’ for any attempts to change their re-education narrative.
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