Saudi Arabia has signed a letter sent to the United Nations in which support is expressed for security policies. In reality they mask persecution and abuse against the Muslim minority. The signatories also include the Philippines, Myanmar, Russia and the Gulf countries.
Geneva (AsiaNews) - Riyadh has signed a letter sent to the United Nations, expressing support for China's repressive policies towards the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjinag region in the west of the country. Along with Saudi Arabia, guardian of the holy places of Islam, there are 36 other states including Russia and the Philippines.
According to a Reuters report, unlike the criticisms of many Western nations, Saudi Arabia, cradle of Islam and birthplace of Muhammad, endorses the repressive policies of China towards the domestic Muslim community. Support for Beijing is a response to the earlier condemnation of 22 ambassadors to the UN Human Rights Council, for "persecution" and "arbitrary detention" of millions of Muslims.
In the Beijing support letter signed by Riyadh, China's "remarkable progress" in the field of human rights is praised. "In the face of the serious challenges of terrorism and extremism - the letter reads - China has taken a series of anti-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjinag, including the setting up of educational and vocational training centers ".
The Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living in Xinjiang, have been demanding greater political and economic autonomy for decades, but Beijing accuses them of separatism and terrorism, justifying a harsh policy of military control. A BBC study has revealed that hundreds of children have been separated from their parents in an attempt to remove their ethnic-religious roots. Beijing defends itself by saying that these camps are instead a place of professional training for the confined population.
Recently the Chinese leadership has tightened its grip, razing historic buildings in the region. In the last two years, mosques have also been affected, removing some parts such as gates or domes, or demolishing the entire structure. A policy of repression that applies to Islam, as well as to other main religions, especially Christianity, aimed at "synicizing" worship.
Even in the past, profound divisions emerged among the Muslim-majority nations with reference to Chinese policies towards the Uyghurs. The letter sent to the United Nations praises the return of security in Xinjiaang and the "safeguarding" of the fundamental human rights of all ethnic groups, including Muslims. Lastly, the letter recalls that in the last three years there have been no terrorist attacks in the region and people can benefit from a renewed climate of happiness, trust and security.
In addition to Saudi Arabia and Russia, the pro-China letter was signed by the ambassadors of various African nations, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Myanmar, the Philippines, Syria, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and the Arab Emirates United (UAE) and Bahrain. The latter represent the blockade of the Gulf States and are by far the largest Muslim nation.
Beijing, through its representative to the UN, expressed appreciation and gratitude for the support received from the signatory countries.