Muslim Pakistan says outcry over China detention camps ‘sensationalized’

Fild photo showing Indian Muslims holding placards during a protest against the Chinese government over the detention of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. (AFP)
Updated 20 December 2018
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Muslim Pakistan says outcry over China detention camps ‘sensationalized’

  • Some section of foreign media are trying to sensationalize the matter by spreading false information

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday defended its close ally China against a growing outcry over Muslims who are being detained by Chinese authorities, saying the issue was being “sensationalized” by foreign media.
Numerous extrajudicial detention centers have been set up in China’s vast, troubled Xinjiang region, holding as many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.
Among them are believed to be dozens of women who married men from neighboring Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan, where people regularly cross the border into China for trade.
“Some section of foreign media are trying to sensationalize the matter by spreading false information,” Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters at a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.
“As per Chinese authorities, out of 44 women, six are already in Pakistan. Four have been convicted on various charges, three are under investigations, eight are under going voluntary training. Twenty-three women are free and living in Xinjiang of their own free will,” he added.
In recent years, Pakistan has heavily pushed its relationship with China, lauding the tens of billions of investment dollars that Beijing is pouring into the country as a “game changer.”
Beijing has also upgraded the treacherous mountain road connecting Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang.
But China has had difficulty reconciling its desire for development with fears that Uighur separatists will import violence from Pakistan.
Chinese authorities have long linked their crackdown on Xinjiang’s Muslims to international counter-terrorism efforts, arguing that separatists are bent on joining foreign extremists like Al-Qaeda.
They describe the camps as “vocational education centers” for people who appear to be drawn toward Islamist extremism and separatism.
But human rights activists say members of China’s Muslim minorities are being held involuntarily for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils, and that the region has become a police state.
Faisal said his ministry and Chinese authorities will continue to coordinate on this matter.
“The Chinese authorities have also offered to arrange visits to Xinjiang of the families of the convicted women,” said Faisal.


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.