ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and 36 other states have written to the United Nations this week supporting China’s policies in its western province of Xinjiang after 22 mostly Western countries rebuked Beijing’s mass detention of Muslims in the restive region.
Last year, the United Nations said it had credible evidence that over one million ethnic Uighur and other Muslims in China were being held against their will, and without trial, in what resembled a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”
China denies this charge, saying the facilities are vocational training centers in Xinjiang, a vast region bordering central Asia that is home to millions of ethnic minority Muslims. Beijing insists the measures are needed to stem the threat of Islamist extremism.
This week, 22 mostly European ambassadors signed a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council criticizing Chinese policies. In response, ambassadors of 37 states, including Pakistan and others from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America jointly signed a letter to the president of the Council praising China’s “contribution to the international human rights cause.”
“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers,” the letter said.
The letter added that security had returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there had been safeguarded. It also said there had been no terrorist attack in the region for three years and people enjoyed a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security.
Beijing has denied any human rights violations in the region and Chinese Ambassador Xu Chen, speaking at the close of the Council’s three-week session on Friday, said China highly appreciated the support it had received from the 37 signatories.