Middle Eastern autocrats are abetting China’s transnational repression of Uyghurs

Middle Eastern autocrats are abetting China’s transnational repression of Uyghurs

Bradley Jardine writes:

In a display of China’s growing political influence in the Islamic world, leaders from 32 Muslim-majority countries flew to Xinjiang last year, in northwestern China, for a conference showcasing the region’s supposed economic and social development. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the attendees expressed that “freedom of religious belief and various rights of Muslims are duly guaranteed” and that the reality in Xinjiang “is completely different from what some Western media reported,” a veiled reference to the mass detention of as many as a million ethnic Uyghurs.

Public relations campaigns like these are just one element in Beijing’s toolkit for whitewashing its repression in far western China, a province with a substantial Muslim population.

As Beijing deepens its ties with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, the Uyghur diaspora in the Middle East is increasingly at risk of China’s growing transnational repression. Last year, four Uyghurs residing in Saudi Arabia, including children, were held and told to prepare for deportation back to China, where they would likely be detained for “re-education” in Xinjiang’s vast network of concentration camps, prisons and factories for forced labor. Since 2017, China has embarked on a draconian campaign to subjugate the vast region bordering Central Asia and reengineer, in line with Communist Party principles, Xinjiang’s unique history and culture, which have been defined by its many ethnic minorities. [Continue reading…]

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