Uyghur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region on November 4, 2017.(AP Photo)
Uyghur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region on November 4, 2017.(AP Photo)

Heavy security prevented Xinjiang from becoming Syria: Chinese state media on critical UN report

A United Nations human rights panel said that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”
Beijing | By Sutirtho Patranobis
UPDATED ON AUG 13, 2018 12:11 PM IST

China’s security presence in Xinjiang has prevented the restive province from becoming another Syria or Libya, Chinese state media said on Monday, in the first response to a United Nations report that the region has been turned into a massive internment camp for the Muslim Uyghur community.

A United Nations meeting on human rights was told last Friday that China has turned the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) into a “no-rights zone” and a “massive internment camp” for the Uyghurs, raising concerns about the disappeared members of the community.

Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have been sent to re-education camps in the name of the fighting religious extremism, the panel was told.

Beijing says the remote region faces threats from religious extremists and foreign-trained militants, who are inciting local Uyghurs to plot and carry out attacks.

Hundreds have died in XUAR in recent years in sporadic attacks on government offices and police stations and ethnic violence. In response, Beijing has covered the province, China’s largest with around 22 million people, under a heavy cloak of security, which rights groups say is directed against the Uyghur community.

The nationalistic tabloid Global Times defended the heavy security but didn’t comment on allegations about the government running re-education camps across the province.

“In the past few years, Xinjiang suffered a series of violent terrorist attacks. Young people were brainwashed by extremist thoughts and manipulated by terrorist organizations. Besides launching terror attacks in Xinjiang, these terrorists also penetrated inland provinces and started attacks in places such as Tiananmen Square of Beijing and Kunming Railway Station,” the editorial said.

“The security situation in Xinjiang has been turned around recently and terror threats spreading from there to other provinces of China are also being eliminated. Peaceful and stable life has been witnessed again in all of Xinjiang,” it said.

The response to the attacks was justified, indicated the editorial.

“This achievement has come at a price that is being shouldered by people of all ethnicities in Xinjiang … Xinjiang has been salvaged from the verge of massive turmoil. It has avoided the fate of becoming ‘China’s Syria’ or ‘China’s Libya’. Xinjiang is operating under the rule of law and ethnic unity. As business recovers, the region’s future is promising,” the editorial said.

“There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations. Police and security posts can be seen everywhere in Xinjiang. But it’s a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance,” the editorial added.

“The turnaround in Xinjiang’s security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China.”

“We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right”.

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