Has China just issued its first conciliatory statement towards the Uighur Muslim ethnic group, which has been persecuted for years? And has it done so out of fear or embarrassment that Uighur Islamic militants have now gone global, fighting for Islamic causes in many corners of the globe? Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, speaking to the Communist Party chief and party delegates of Xinjiang province, appeared to be acknowledging for the first time the deep frustration felt by young Uighurs, the eradication of Uighur culture and, most seriously, the lack of jobs in the province. "Let the people, especially the young, have something to do and money to earn," he told them at China's annual meeting of parliament. He urged private companies to invest in Xinjiang and for the majority Han Chinese population to mingle more with their Uighur brothers.
On Tuesday, 19 May at 19:30 GMT: China is trying to walk a line between quelling scattered outbreaks of coronavirus and restoring a semblance of day-to-day normality. But concerns are mounting over the possible effects of the virus on hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims, many of whom are being held in so-called "re-education" camps that United Nations experts say are in flagrant disregard of international human rights law. Uighur rights activists, as well as the relatives of those interned in the western province of Xinjiang, say cramped, unhygienic conditions in the camps allow for the untrammelled spread of coronavirus. As COVID-19 cases in China increased earlier this year they urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to seek a fact-finding mission to the region. Chinese government officials responded by downplaying the risks of coronavirus in the Muslim-majority region, saying the vast majority of those in the camps had since "graduated" and been released.
China has banned "abnormal" beards and full-face coverings in the remote western region of Xinjiang as part of tighter "anti-extremism" regulations that also prohibit rejecting state media. Xinjiang is home ot about 10 million Uighur Muslims, who have said they routinely face discrimination. Hundreds of people have died in recent years in the region due to unrest blamed by Beijing on "separatists", though rights groups say the violence is more a reaction to repressive Chinese policies. The new legislation took effect on Saturday and lists a wide range of restrictions, including rejecting or refusing "radio, television or other public facilities and services", marrying using religious rather than legal procedures and "using the name of Halal to meddle in secular life of others". The rules also ban not allowing children to attend government schools, not abiding by family planning policies, wearing robes that cover the whole body and face and "abnormal growing of beards and naming of children to exaggerate religious fervour", according to the text of the rules published on a government website.
ANKARA – Turkey's foreign minister on Sunday said China should not label all Muslim ethnic Uighurs as terrorists, following talks with his Chinese counterpart in Germany. U.N. experts believe China is holding a million Muslims in camps in the western Xinjiang region where most of the country's ethnic Uighur, the largest Muslim minority, live. The region has long suffered from violent unrest, which China claims is orchestrated by an organized "terrorist" movement seeking independence. "Whether Turk, Uighur Turk, Han Chinese, Buddhist or Christian … it is not right to call all Uighur Turks terrorists just because one or two terrorists came from a certain ethnic group," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Germany. Cavusoglu held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday during the Munich Security Conference.