UN: 43 nations condemn Beijing's atrocities in Xinjiang

The Chinese are accused of imprisoning 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in camps. The number of signatories has more than doubled since the first official complaint in 2020. They include Turkey, which is suspected of deporting Uyghur refugees to China in exchange for economic aid. Beijing: "groundless" accusations.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - 43 nations have joined the United Nations in condemning the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against the Turkish-speaking Muslim minorities living in Xinjiang and other provinces in the country.

They are calling on Beijing to grant full and unrestricted access to its autonomous region to independent observers to them to verify the humanitarian situation.

The clear condemnation is contained in a statement read out by Nicolas De Riviere, French ambassador to the UN, on 21 October. It cites "credible reports" of the presence of an extensive network of political re-education camps in Xinjiang.

According to the UN, several humanitarian organisations and international media, Chinese authorities have imprisoned around 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in Xinjiang in real concentration camps since 2017. The allegations are based on a review of official documents from Beijing and direct testimony from former detainees and prison guards. They include a number of human rights violations, including torture and other inhuman treatment, forced sterilisation, rape and forced separation of children.

The signatory States also condemn the severe restrictions imposed on the Muslim population of Xinjiang, including those on freedom of religion, movement, association and expression. They also denounce the extensive surveillance system set up by the Chinese authorities to control Uyghurs and other minorities of Turkic origin.

This is the third such declaration submitted to the UN since 2019. The first declaration was signed by 20 countries and the 2020 declaration by 40. In this year's declaration, Turkey, previously absent, also signed. About 50,000 Uyghurs live on Turkish territory. The Erdogan government has been accused of deporting Uyghur refugees to China in exchange for economic aid from Beijing.

The Chinese deny all accusations, claiming that the Xinjiang structures are vocational training centres and projects to reduce poverty, fight terrorism and separatism. Beijing's ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, rejected the content of the statement, calling it "unfounded". The Chinese diplomat pointed out that 80 nations support China's official position on Xinjiang.