China denies Uyghur detention

China has vociferously defended its human rights record at the United Nations, after accusations were made that more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been imprisoned in political re-education camps.

Background

The Uyghur’s are predominantly Muslims and have regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

In the early part of the 20th Century, the Uyghur’s briefly declared independence. The region was brought under the complete control of communist China in 1949.

Xinjiang is officially designated an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

 

Analysis

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been hearing testimony on the Chinese government's treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority, among other issues.

In their submission to the committee the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said they estimated at least one million Uyghurs were being held in political indoctrination camps as of July 2018.

Responding to questions Monday, a representative of the Chinese government called the accusations of mass imprisonment "completely untrue."

 

Assessment

Our assessment is that while Xinjiang faces mild threats from Islamist militants, the larger reason for this strife is the curtailment of freedom for the Uighurs in their religious, commercial and cultural activities by ethnic Han Chinese majority.