Printer Friendly

Conference calls for int'l investigation into Uyghur camps in China.

The conference on the "Uyghur camps in China" held at the Brussels Press Club BRUSSELS, May 15 (KUNA) -- An academic conference has called for an international investigation to find out what is really going on in the detention camps where Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region are being held in their thousands. "We need a thorough international investigation to know what is happening in these camps since 2017. A lot of bad things are happening in these camps. It is not enough just for some officials and journalists to visit these camps," said Rune Steenberg, an expert on Uyghurs at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He was speaking at the conference on the "Uyghur camps in China" held at the Brussels Press Club Tuesday evening. The Danish academic who has gathered testimonies from a large number of former Uyghur detainees said many people as well as the media in Europe first did not believe reports about the persecution of Uyghurs in China but now this has turned out to be true. He said there is no real data on the number of Uyghur detainees in these camps which the Chinese authorities call as "re-education" camps, but their number is estimated to be around a million. "A lot of abuses and tortures are going on in these camps. Over 150,000 security guards have been hired to guard the camps and some USD 107 million have been spent on their construction," he said. Steenberg said Uyghur Muslims are facing draconian religious measures. Praying at home or fasting has become a criminal offence and many mosques in the villages have been shut or destroyed. Muslims are allowed to pray in the big mosques in the cities where only state-appointed Imams can preach and propagate the propaganda of praising nationalism and secularism. The Danish scholar said a few years ago, Uyghur Muslims were afraid to go to pray to mosques for fear of being arrested, but now they are afraid of not going to pray as they will be labelled as radicals for not going to listen to the state-orchestrated propaganda in the mosques. Uyghurs are banned to use Muslim names such as Fatima, he noted. Xinjiang province (also known as East Turkestan) is homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other central Asian peoples such as Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Uzbeks, and Tajiks. According to the Chinese census, the present population of these Muslims is over 11 million; among these, the 8.68 million Uyghurs constitute the majority. But Uyghur sources put their population at over 15 million. The Chinese authorities have denied the allegations and insist that they are combating "radicalism" and "terrorism" fomented by the Uyghur-diaspora in the West supported by some foreign powers. Vanessa Frangville, an expert on China at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), said the aim of the conference is to raise public awareness of the suffering of the Uyghurs. Frangville, who heads the Research Centre on East Asia at the ULB, urged universities and academic institutions in the West to stop all cooperation and collaborations with universities and academic institutions in China. "We must stop business as usual with China and we should not take part in conferences in China and should not invite Chinese academics to our conferences in Europe," said Frangville the organizer of the conference. She called for economic and diplomatic pressure on China to close the Uyghur camps. Madi Sharma from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said that Europe has been silent on the Chinese actions against Uyghurs. "Stop this silence," said Sharma who moderated the conference and is also a well-known human rights activist in Brussels. EESC is an EU advisory body comprising representative of workers and employers organisations in Europe. On his part, Halmurat Harri, an Uyghur activist who lives in Finland spoke about the conditions in what he called "concentration camps" of Uyghurs and about the suffering of his parents and family members. "The Uyghur community needs encouragement from the international community. We want to solve the problem in a peaceful way through dialogue," added Harri who was a special guest at the conference.(end)

All KUNA right are reserved [c] 2019. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( ).
COPYRIGHT 2019 SyndiGate Media Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 15, 2019
Previous Article:Signing transitional period agreement within 24 hours - Sudan's TMC.
Next Article:May 16th marks day when Kuwaiti women battled political rights.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters