People from the Uighur community living in Turkey carry flags of what ethnic Uighurs call 'East Turkestan', during a protest in Istanbul, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, against what they allege is oppression by the Chinese government to Muslim Uighurs in far
People from the Uighur community living in Turkey carry flags of what ethnic Uighurs call 'East Turkestan', during a protest in Istanbul, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, against what they allege is oppression by the Chinese government to Muslim Uighurs in far

GENEVA - China on Tuesday once again rejected criticism of its treatment of ethnic Muslims, telling the United Nations that accusations of rights abuses from some countries were “politically driven.”

At a U.N. review of the country’s human rights record, China characterized the far west region of Xinjiang as a former hotbed of extremism that has been stabilized through “training centers” which help people gain employable skills.

Former detainees of such centers, on the other hand, have described the facilities as political indoctrination camps where ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are forced to renounce their faith and swear loyalty to the ruling Communist Party.

The U.N. has previously said there are credible reports that as many as 1 million people are being held in this form of extrajudicial detention.

Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress attends an event concerning China ahead of the Human Rights Council review in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2, 2018.
Activists Urge Deep Scrutiny of China at UN Rights Gathering This Week
Activists called for U.N. member states to pressure China this week to account for alleged human rights violations, including the suspected mass detention of one million Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province. China’s record will be examined by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday, the first time since 2013, in a regular review expected to focus on its treatment of ethnic minorities, especially Uighurs and Tibetans. China says Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist militants and…

At Tuesday’s review — part of the Human Rights Council’s periodic review process for every member state — the U.S., Canada, Japan and several other countries called on Beijing to address growing concerns over its treatment of Xinjiang Muslims.

U.S. charge d’affaires Mark Cassayre urged China to “immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals” arbitrarily detained in the region. Representatives from both Canada and the U.K. said the country’s human rights situation has “deteriorated.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng dismissed the censures.

“We will not accept the politically-driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases,” Le said.

2017年11月2日,在新疆库尔勒市,警察站在一个被认为用于再教育的中心附近。
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Yasim Sadiq, the Uighur mayor of Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi, told the session in Geneva that current policies are in line with the people’s wishes. He repeated China’s frequently cited claim that no terrorist attacks have occurred in the region for 21 months, and that “trainees” who were previously “controlled by extremist ideology” have since immersed themselves in cultural and athletic activities at the centers.

Sadiq said visitors are always welcome in Xinjiang, but he did not address requests from several countries to allow independent UN observers inside the region.

In recent years, Xinjiang has been outfitted with a high-tech security network , making police checkpoints and surveillance cameras ubiquitous throughout the region.

FILE - Residents past through one of the many security check points in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region, Nov. 4, 2017.
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Amnesty International is demanding China account for as many as one million ethnic Muslims the group says have been arbitrarily detained in the remote western Xinjiang region.In a report released Monday, the human rights watchdog says the region's Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been the targets of "an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination, and forced cultural assimilation."Beijing began a campaign in…

Human Rights Watch said the U.N. review showed the contrast between Beijing’s view of its human rights records and “the grim realities.”

“China’s efforts to whitewash its record have failed to convince a growing number of states who recognize China’s deliberate and systemic abuses, and suppression of dissenting voices, can no longer be ignored,” John Fisher, the organization’s Geneva director, said in an emailed statement.

About 500 people, including ethnic Uighurs but also pro-Tibet demonstrators, marched through Geneva before holding a boisterous, colorful rally at Geneva’s landmark three-legged chair outside the U.N. offices.

Chanting “Shame on China” and accusing its government of tyranny and “terrorist” repression, the demonstrators waved light-blue flags representing East Turkistan — some Uighurs’ preferred name for Xinjiang — and held aloft photos of loved ones who have gone missing or were taken into custody by Chinese authorities.

Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress attends an event concerning China ahead of the Human Rights Council review in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2, 2018.
Activists Urge Deep Scrutiny of China at UN Rights Gathering This Week
Activists called for U.N. member states to pressure China this week to account for alleged human rights violations, including the suspected mass detention of one million Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province. China’s record will be examined by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday, the first time since 2013, in a regular review expected to focus on its treatment of ethnic minorities, especially Uighurs and Tibetans. China says Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist militants and…

Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said nearly all the Uighurs who live in exile have lost contact with family members in China.

“That’s why we are here gathering — to protest the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown against East Turkestan, Uighur people, Tibetan people,” he said in an interview.

Isa called on the U.N. to take “concrete action” to hold the Chinese government accountable.