China rejects Turkey criticism on Uighur re-education camps

China rejects Turkey criticism on Uighur re-education camps

A United Nations panel of experts has said that almost one million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities have reportedly been held in "re-education camps" in China's western Xinjiang region, where most of the country's more than 10 million Uighurs live.

The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority based in the north-west Xinjiang region of China, which has come under intense surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Former detainees have described their ordeal, saying they were injected with unknown substances and subjected to physical and mental torture.

China's Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs.

Since the 1990s, Uighur groups have tried to regain independence for East Turkestan, which China has vehemently quashed.

"... A small number of separatists and religious extremists in Xinjiang, influenced by the global trend of religious extremism and national chauvinism, politicised the unstandardised geographical term "East Turkestan", and fabricated an "ideological and theoretical system" on the so-called "independence of East Turkestan" on the basis of the allegation cooked up by the old colonialists".

While Turkey and China broadly have good relations, Aksoy said he was responding to the death of Heyit in a Chinese jail.

"Turkey's Foreign Ministry calls on China to respect fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and shut down concentration camps", the MFA further noted.

Turkey's response follows the death in detention of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit, which Aksoy said was a tragedy that had "reinforced the reaction of the Turkish public opinion toward serious human rights violations committed in the Xinjiang region".

"The Chinese Foreign Ministry's response to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the allegations are outrageous, we have an official initiative", the tweet read.

China has slammed Turkey's criticism of its policy against the country's Uighur Muslim community, labelling the latter's condemnation a "double standard".

Mr Heyit was a master of the dutar, a type of two-stringed instrument with a long neck that is found in Iran and throughout Central Asia. Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

The video was not a guarantee that Mr Heyit was in fact alive, he said, adding that the tone, ambiance, undisclosed location and soundproof walls were all hallmarks of coerced and scripted confessions in which the subjects were subjected to threats and even torture.

In a statement quoted by the Associated Press, China through its embassy in Ankara called on Turkey to withdraw its "false accusations".

"Both China and Turkey face the arduous task of fighting terrorism".

The vocational education center is teaching people living in remote areas about the country's common language and law and is aimed at preventing the spread of terrorism and extremism, the embassy said in a statement.

She told a daily briefing that the Turkish side had "made a very bad mistake which is quite irresponsible", the AP reported. Beijing has intensified a security clampdown on Uighurs that was put in place after a bloody 2009 riot.