Posts Tagged ‘concentration camps’

China rejects Turkey criticism on Uighurs

February 11, 2019

China hit back on Monday at Turkish criticism over its treatment of Uighurs and denied Ankara’s claim that a renowned poet from the Muslim minority had died in custody, calling it an “absurd lie”.

Turkey’s foreign ministry had released a statement on Saturday severely criticising China’s mass detentions of its Turkic-speaking Uighurs, and claiming that poet Abdurehim Heyit had died serving an eight-year Chinese prison sentence imposed as punishment over “one of his songs”.

But China on Sunday released a video showing a man who identified himself as Heyit and saying that he was alive and well.

“China has made solemn representations toward Turkey. We hope the relevant Turkish persons can distinguish between right and wrong and correct their mistakes,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a daily press briefing.

She called the Turkish statement “vile” and urged Ankara to withdraw its “false accusations”.

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Hua Chunying

“I saw his (Heyit’s) video online yesterday, showing that he is not only alive but also very healthy,” she said.

A UN panel of experts has said that nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities had been herded into “re-education camps” in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, where most of the country’s more than 10 million Uighurs live.

Turkey had said China’s treatment of Uighurs was “a great embarrassment for humanity” — perhaps the strongest condemnation yet from a Muslim country.

The Muslim world has been conspicuously quiet on the Uighur issue, possibly to avoid Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation.

The plight of China’s Uighurs is closely followed in Turkey due to shared linguistic, cultural and religious links and the presence of tens of thousands of ethnic Uighurs there.

– ‘No abuse’ –

In its statement on Saturday, Turkey did not say how it had learned that Heyit died, but said the “tragedy has further reinforced the reaction of the Turkish public opinion towards (the) serious human rights violations” in Xinjiang.

But state-controlled China Radio International (CRI) released a 26-second video on its Turkish service on Sunday.

“My name is Abdurehim Heyit. Today is February 10, 2019,” the man in the video says, according to the English subtitles.

“I’m in the process of being investigated for allegedly violating the national laws,” he added, in what appeared to be the Uighur language.

Wearing a black and white sweater over a collared shirt, he said he was in “good health” and has “never been abused”, according to the subtitles.

AFP was unable to immediately verify the authenticity of the video or when it was shot.

CRI said it was released to state media by Xinjiang’s regional government.

Xinjiang has come under intensifying police surveillance in recent years following repeated riots, bombings and attacks on Chinese security forces and civilians.

Beijing at first denied any Xinjiang detention camps existed, but later admitted people were being sent to what it calls “vocational education centres”.

But critics say Uighurs are being pressured in the camps to assimilate with Chinese society and abandon religious and cultural practices that Beijing sees as potential sources of resistance.

The Turkish foreign ministry statement said Uighurs were being “subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centres and prisons”.

Hua, however, appeared to leave the door open to patching up the row, saying the two sides should endeavour to maintain “mutual trust and cooperation”.

AFP

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Turkey urges China to close Uighur camps — ‘Shame for humanity’

February 10, 2019

Turkey calls China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uighur minority ‘a great cause of shame for humanity’.

Last month, China passed a law to 'Sinicize' Islam and make it 'compatible with socialism' [Wang HE/Getty Images]
Last month, China passed a law to ‘Sinicize’ Islam and make it ‘compatible with socialism’ [Wang HE/Getty Images]

Turkey has condemned China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uighur people as “a great cause of shame for humanity” and asked it to close the “concentration camps”.

In a statement on Saturday, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Chinahas arbitrarily detained more than a million Uighurs.

He said the Turkic Muslim population faced pressure and “systematic assimilation” in western China.

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK

Exposed: China’s surveillance of Muslim Uighurs

Steve Chao
by Steve Chao

“It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks, who are exposed to arbitrary arrests, are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centres and prisons,” Aksoy said.

“We invite Chinese authorities to respect fundamental human rights of the Uighur Turks and shut down concentration camps,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had once accused China of “genocide” but has since established closer diplomatic and economic relations with Beijing.

China’s Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

Practising Islam is forbidden in some parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion, facing the threat of arrest.

China’s crackdown on Uighur people has made headlines around the world.

In August last year, a United Nations panel of experts said it had received credible reports that over a million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities were being held in so-called “re-education camps” where they are made to renounce Islam.

WATCH

Uighurs: Nowhere To Call Home

Beijing denies Uighurs are being held against their will and says these are “voluntary” vocational training facilities, designed to provide job training and to stamp out “extremist” tendencies.

China has intensified a security crackdown on Uighurs that was put in place after a bloody 2009 riot. Droves of Uighurs have fled, many travelling to Turkey.

Last month, China passed a law to “Sinicize” Islam and make it “compatible with socialism” within the next five years.

But most Muslim-majority countries have not been vocal on the issue, not criticising the government in China which is an important trading partner.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/humanity-turkey-urges-china-close-uighur-camps-190209202215688.html

China says pace of Xinjiang ‘education’ will slow, but defends camps

January 6, 2019

China will not back down on what it sees as a highly successful de-radicalisation programme in Xinjiang that has attracted global concern, but fewer people will be sent through, officials said last week in allowing rare media access there.
Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts over what they call mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home.

In August, a U.N. human rights panel said it had received credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities in the far western region are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp.”

Last week, the government organised a visit to three such facilities, which it calls vocational education training centres, for a small group of foreign reporters, including Reuters.

In recent days, a similar visit was arranged for diplomats from 12 non-Western countries, including Russia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan, according to Xinjiang officials and foreign diplomats.

Senior officials, including Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang’s governor and the region’s most senior Uighur, dismissed what they called “slanderous lies” about the facilities.

Speaking in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, Shohrat Zakir said the centres had been “extremely effective” in reducing extremism by teaching residents about the law and helping them learn Mandarin.

“As time goes by, the people in the education training mechanism will be fewer and fewer,” he said.

Shohrat Zakir said he could not say exactly how many people were in the facilities.

“One million people, this number is rather frightening. One million people in the education mechanism – that’s not realistic. That’s purely a rumour,” he said, stressing they were temporary educational facilities.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based exile group the World Uyghur Congress, told Reuters the Chinese government was using extremism as an excuse to lock people up.

“What they are trying to do is destroy Uighur identity,” he said.

INSIDE THE CENTRES

Human rights groups and former detainees have said that conditions in the camps are poor, with inmates subject to abuse. They said detainees did not receive vocational training.

Seeking to counter that narrative, the government took reporters to three centres, in Kashgar, Hotan and Karakax, all in the heavily Uighur-populated southern part of Xinjiang, where much of the violence has taken place in recent years.

In one class reporters were allowed to briefly visit, a teacher explained in Mandarin that not allowing singing or dancing at a wedding or crying at a funeral are signs of extremist thought.

The students took notes, pausing to look up as reporters and officials entered the room. Some smiled awkwardly. Others just looked down at their books. All were Uighur. None appeared to have been mistreated.

In another class, residents read a Chinese lesson in their textbook entitled “Our motherland is so vast.”

There was plenty of singing and dancing in other rooms reporters visited, including a lively rendition in English of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands,” that seemed to have been put on especially for the visit.

Several residents agreed to speak briefly to reporters, though all in the presence of government officials. Reporters were closely chaperoned at all times.

All the interviewees said they were there of their own accord after learning of the centres from local officials.

Many answers used extremely similar language about being “infected with extremist thought.”

Pazalaibutuyi, 26, told reporters at the Hotan centre that five years ago she had attended an illegal religious gathering at a neighbour’s house, where they were taught that women should cover their faces.

“At that time I was infected with extremist thought so I wore a face veil,” she said, speaking clear Mandarin after a year at the centre.

Government officials came to her village to talk to the villagers and after that, she said, “I discovered my mistake.”

In the Kashgar centre, Osmanjan, who declined to give his age, said he had incited ethnic hatred, so village police suggested he go for re-education.

“Under the influence of extremist thought, when non-Muslims came to my shop I was unwilling to serve them,” he said in unsteady Mandarin.

It was not possible to independently verify their stories. All the interviewees said they had not been forewarned of the visit.

Residents said they can “graduate” when they are judged to have reached a certain level with their Mandarin, de-radicalisation and legal knowledge. They are allowed phone calls with family members, but no cell phones. They are provided halal food.

Only minimal security was visible at any of the three centres.

Reuters last year reported on conditions inside the camps and took pictures of guard towers and barbed wire surrounding some. (https://tinyurl.com/y9zzouss)

‘A GOOD LIFE’

The situation in Xinjiang has stirred concern in Western capitals.

At least 15 Western ambassadors wrote to Xinjiang’s top official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, late last year seeking a meeting to discuss their concerns. Chen did not meet reporters on the trip.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters the ambassadors did not get a response.

The United States has said it is considering sanctions against Chen, other officials and Chinese companies linked to allegations of rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based Human Rights Watch researcher, said international pressure needs to increase.

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“The fact that they feel they need to put on a show tour is a sign that this pressure is working,” she told Reuters.

Both Wang and Dilxat Raxit noted that the tight control over the visits and interviews showed China’s concern about their true nature.

Over a lunch of lamb kebabs, horse meat and naan, Urumqi party boss Xu Hairong told Reuters that “all of the reports are fake” when it comes to foreign coverage of Xinjiang. He dismissed worries about U.S. sanctions.

“We, including Party Secretary Chen, are working all out for the people of Xinjiang to have a good life,” Xu said. “If the U.S. won’t allow me to go, then I don’t want to go there. That’s the truth.”

The government says its goal is for Uighurs to become part of mainstream Chinese society. Shohrat Zakir said in parts of southern Xinjiang people couldn’t even say hello in Mandarin.

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Officials point to a lack of violence in the past two years as evidence of programme’s success.

Urumqi’s Exhibition on Major Violent Terrorist Attack Cases in Xinjiang, normally closed to the public, displays graphic images and footage from what the government says are attacks.

“Only with a deeper understanding of the past can you understand the measures we have taken today,” Shi Lei, Xinjiang’s Communist Party committee deputy propaganda chief, told reporters.

One member of the Chinese armed forces, who has served in Kashgar, said the security situation had improved dramatically.

“You can’t imagine what it was like there in 2014 and 2015. There were attacks all the time, bombings, stabbings. It was chaos,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

In Kashgar, Hotan and Karakax, petrol stations are still surrounded by barbed wire and heavy security barriers. Residential areas are dotted with small police stations.

Related image

The stations have broader public service in mind, Zhang Yi, commander of one of the stations, told reporters. The one reporters visited provided pamphlets on a wide range of subjects, including how to legally change your sex.

Kashgar deputy party chief Zark Zurdun, a Uighur from Ghulja in northern Xinjiang, where many ethnic Kazakhs live, told Reuters that “stability is the best human right.”

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“The West should learn from us” on how to beat extremism, he said, dismissing concerns Uighur culture was under attack.

“Did Kazakh vanish in the USSR when they all had to learn Russian?” he said. “No. So Uighur won’t vanish here.”

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Reuters

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Plainclothes security officers take away a supporter of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang near the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin in northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, on Dec. 26. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

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China passes law to make Islam ‘compatible with socialism’

January 6, 2019

New decree seeks to ‘guide Islam’, as crackdown against Muslims and Islamic symbols continues.

Practicing Islam is forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab facing arrest [Thomas Peter/Reuters]
Practicing Islam is forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab facing arrest [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

China has passed a new law that seeks to “Sinicize” Islam within the next five years, the latest move by Beijing to rewrite how the religion is practised.

China’s main English newspaper, Global Times, reported on Saturday that after a meeting with representatives from eight Islamic associations, government officials “agreed to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicize the religion.”

Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs make up eight million of Xinjiang’s 19 million population [File: AP]

China has embarked on an aggressive “Sinification” campaign in recent years with faith groups that were largely tolerated in the past seeing their freedoms shrink under Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.The newspaper did not provide further details or the names of the associations that agreed to the decree.

OPINION

China holds one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps

Khaled A Beydoun
by Khaled A Beydoun

Practising Islam has been made forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion, facing the threat of arrest.

According to the UN, more than one million Uighur Muslims are estimated to be held in internment camps where they are forced to denounce the religion and pledge allegiance to the officially atheist ruling Communist Party.

Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a camp in Hotan Prefecture [Image obtained by HRW]

Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a camp in Hotan Prefecture [Image obtained by HRW]

Rights groups have accused China of engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. In August, a Washington Post editorial said the world “can’t ignore” the campaign against Muslims.

Islamic crescents and domes have been stripped from mosques, and according to the Associated Press news agency, religious schools and Arabic classes have been banned and children barred from participating in Muslim activities.

China has been accused of carrying out political indoctrination on Muslim Uighurs. File: AP

China has rejected the criticism, saying it protects the religion and culture of its minorities.

However, in the past week alone, authorities in China’s Yunnan province, which borders Mynamar, have closed three mosques established by the marginalised Hui Muslim ethnic minority, the South China Morning Post has reported.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

They survived the Holocaust. Must they go back into hiding?

December 10, 2018

They survived the Europe of the Holocaust. But a recent rise in anti-Semitic acts in the United States has rekindled old fears: Should they again go into hiding, or should they instead reach out to share their experiences?

Nearly all of them were children or adolescents in the early 1940s. They remember having their youth stolen from them — by fear, by desperate flight, by separation from relatives, and in some cases by the Nazi death camps.

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / SPENCER PLATT
Amid a rise in reported anti-Semitic acts in the US, neo-Nazis in the state of Georgia burned a swastika on April 21, 2018

If there was one country where they felt they were safe, it was the United States, where many of them have now lived for decades.

They have, to be sure, heard the occasional anti-Semitic slight or perhaps seen a swastika daubed on a wall, but still they felt safe — an all-important word for them.

Now, however, these survivors — several of whom came together in the Oheb Shalom synagogue in an affluent New Jersey suburb to celebrate Hanukkah and to mark International Holocaust Survivors Night — are deeply worried: Anti-Semitic acts in the US soared last year by 37 percent, according to FBI statistics.

The October 27 slaughter at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a white nationalist has been charged with gunning down 11 mostly elderly Jews as they worshiped, greatly heightened those fears.

AFP/File / Brendan SMIALOWSKI
A woman stands at a memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27

“A crazy man listened to Trump,” said David Lefkovic, 89, referring to the Pittsburgh shooter.

As an adolescent in southwestern France during World War II, he was saved only by his blond hair from being snatched up in a round-up of Jews.

Trump “calls anybody that he doesn’t like ‘weak’ — that’s exactly Nazi language,” said Adela Dubovy, who, as a 6-year-old, survived the notorious Theresienstadt concentration camp. “You’re weak, you’re to be destroyed.”

– ‘It can happen again’ –

“Before, they were hiding,” Lefkovic said of America’s anti-Semites.

“It’s now out in the open that it’s okay to pick on the Jews all over again,” said Hanna Keselman, who was born in Germany in 1930 and spent much of the war in France and Italy.

The anti-Semites “are very strong, even in colleges,” said Roman Kent, who survived life in camps including Auschwitz. “They should have people that are more intelligent.”

AFP/File / Don EMMERT
Roman Kent, who survived life in several Nazi concentration camps, regrets that more young Jews are not stepping forward to ensure the Holocaust is never forgotten

In recent weeks, anti-Semitic acts have taken place on the campuses of some of America’s most prestigious universities, including Columbia and Cornell in New York state and Duke in North Carolina.

Of the Pittsburgh massacre, said Kent, who took part in negotiations with Germany over compensation to be paid to Jews, “I’m afraid that it can happen again, and it will happen again.”

– ‘I don’t want to live that way’-

Adela Dubovy said she has four grandchildren at various universities.

She said she lives in a retirement home — a “bubble” that insulates her to some extent. But she admits to being “scared.”

“Now I don’t wear my Star of David. I tell my grandkids: Don’t wear your kippah (yarmulke) in the street — you don’t want to be attacked.”

“I understand” the urge to be discreet, said Keselman, “but I would not tell my grandchildren that.”

“I don’t want to live that way anymore… I did it. Enough of that.”

When she traveled back to Italy, where her father was arrested and then killed, “I purposely wore a Jewish Star of David. I felt, ‘This is me back, and I feel safe here.'”

Today, said the soft-spoken 88-year-old, “I want to live free and open with everyone.”

Keselman, a painter, is not fond of public speaking but she forces herself to meet with young people to keep alive the haunting memories that some people feel will be lost forever when the final survivors die.

Roman Kent says he regrets that too few members of younger Jewish generations have picked up the torch.

“If they would, then there would not be 60 or 70 percent that don’t know the word Holocaust,” he said.

A study published in April by the Claims Conference, the group behind the International Holocaust Survivors Night, found that 49 percent of America’s young “millennial” generation could not name a single concentration camp.

“I realize that I do make an impact on people who are not Jewish, because they come back and tell me they never realized a lot of things that were going on” during the war, said Keselman.

“The problem,” she added, “is that the people who want to hear the stories are not the people who would be behaving as anti-Semites.”

https://www.afp.com/en/news/3954/they-survived-holocaust-must-they-go-back-hiding-doc-1bg0k42

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Ex-Prisoner Says China’s ‘Vocational Training Centers’ a Complete Lie

December 7, 2018
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The ongoing repression in China is about “protecting the Chinese Communist Party.”
Uyghur Reveals Chinese Communist Party’s Crimes in Xinjiang
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December 6, 2018

China’s claims that Xinjiang’s mass internment camps—where at least one million predominantly ethnic Uyghurs are being held—are “vocational training centres” are completely “fake and made up,” a former Uyghur camp detainee has told The Epoch Times.

Countering claims made by the China’s ruling Communist Party, who in October described the facilities as “free vocational training centers” that make life more “colorful,” the former detainee, Gulbukhar Jalilova, said “they are lying through their teeth,” adding that she “never saw a single classroom.”

Xinjiang governor Shohrat Zakir told state-run Xinhua news agency that people detained in the camps “will advance from learning the country’s common language to learning legal knowledge and vocational skills.”

Xinjiang governor Shohrat Zakir

But 54-year-old Gulbukhar said instead of learning vocational skills, “I moved from camp to camp, room to room, and never saw anybody spending any time learning something.”

Gulbukhar, a Kazakhstan national and businesswoman, was held in an all-female camp in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, for just over 15 months before she was released in September this year. She was detained after being falsely accused of transferring $17,000 into a company called Nur. She was released by officials after they said they had been told she was innocent.

She was tricked into traveling to Urumqi after receiving a phone call from her business associate’s daughter. She was told there were “big problems” and that she needed to come to the capital immediately from her home in Kazakhstan. She was arrested upon her arrival.

Uyghur woman Gulbukhar Jalilova who was released from Xinjiang reeducation camp
Businesswoman Gulbukhar Jalilova, 54, a former Uyghur detainee in Xinjiang, China. (Gulbukhar Jalilova)

The CCP’s narrative of providing detainees with “vocational skills” to help with employment does not add up, the 54-year-old said, because the types of women held in camp with her were “very rich, educated people,” such as “businesswomen, doctors, nurses and teachers.”

“They weren’t homeless people or those with no money who needed training—that’s a lie from the CCP,” she told The Epoch Times.

“They could afford to go overseas and then when they came back, they were detained.”

But amongst the claims Zakir made, as the CCP moved to legalize the facilities, is that detainees are offered “practical opportunities,” such as learning about “businesses in garment making, mobile phone assembly, and ethnic cuisine catering.”

The CCP has long justified its measures against Uyghurs, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslim, saying the facilities aim to “educate and transform” those that it deems at risk of the “three evil forces” of “extremism, separatism, and terrorism.”

Uyghurs, alongside other ethnic minorities like the Tibetans, as well as faithful believers who remain outside state control, including house Christians and Falun Gong, have long been targeted by the CCP for transformation through “re-education.”

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV aired a 15-minute segment in October, offering a glimpse into life inside one of the centers—the Hotan City Vocational Skills Education and Training Center.

The “trainees” can be seen reading from large textbooks in the clip and are shown learning various skills such as baking, woodworking, sewing, and cosmetology.

“Whatever the CCP shows on TV and videos—it’s all fake and made up. There are no classrooms. We just sit in our rooms and stare at the wall. The door only opens to punish you, that’s it,” Gulbukhar added.

While China’s state TV footage showed rooms with air conditioning, decorated with bunting and balloons, Gulbukhar said it is a depiction far from reality. Detainees are confined to their rooms, poorly treated, and kept in shackles in overcrowded conditions, she said.

Those in her camp were forced to ingest unknown medicine daily and were injected with a substance every month which “numbs your emotions.” They were also subject to various forms of torture including food and sleep deprivation, physical punishments, while some were even killed, she said.

Chairing a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on Nov. 29, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said given the daily realities in communist China, where “Uyghur Muslims are rounded up and interned in camps, Tibetan monks and nuns are forced to undergo political re-education sessions, Falun Gong practitioners are reportedly sent to legal education centers for indoctrination, and Christian believers are harassed and imprisoned,” many observers are describing the current wave of repression in China as “the most severe since the cultural revolution.”

Rubio added he believes the CCP’s motivation behind the escalating crackdown “is an obsessive desire … to create a sort of unified, national identity, which must be stripped of anything that competes with it—ethnicity, religion, ethnic cultural tradition.”

China analyst Dr. Samantha Hoffman from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute added at the hearing that the ongoing repression in China is about “protecting the Chinese Communist Party.”

The CCP’s “concept of what we would call national security I think is better translated as party state security,” she said. “[T]here are dimensions … dealing with the internal struggle for power … and then dealing with everything outside the party; controlling the narrative, controlling the ideological space.

“That means that the state security methods extend far beyond China’s borders and that’s why you see the harassment of overseas Chinese.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/ex-prisoner-says-chinas-vocational-training-centers-a-complete-lie_2731988.html

Hundreds of scholars condemn China for Xinjiang camps — “Psychological torture of innocent civilians.”

November 27, 2018

Countries must hit China with sanctions over the mass detention of ethnic Uighurs in its western Xinjiang region, hundreds of scholars said on Monday, warning that a failure to act would signal acceptance of “psychological torture of innocent civilians.”

Beijing has in recent months faced an outcry from activists, academics and foreign governments over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the Muslim Uighur minority and other ethnic groups that live in Xinjiang.

In August, a United Nations human rights panel said it had received many credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy” in the region.


Uighur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang region. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Representatives from a group of 278 scholars in various disciplines from dozens of countries called on China at a news briefing in Washington to end its detention policies, and for sanctions directed at key Chinese leaders and security companies linked to the abuses.

“This situation must be addressed to prevent setting negative future precedents regarding the acceptability of any state’s complete repression of a segment of its population, especially on the basis of ethnicity or religion,” the group said in a statement.

Countries should expedite asylum requests from Xinjiang’s Muslim minorities, as well as “spearhead a movement for UN action aimed at investigating this mass internment system and closing the camps,” it said.

China rejects criticism of its actions in Xinjiang, saying that it protects the religion and culture of minorities, and that its security measures are needed to combat the influence of “extremist” groups that incite violence there.

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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi

The country’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said the world should ignore “gossip” about Xinjiang and trust the government.

But after initial denials about the detention camps, Chinese officials have said some people guilty of minor offences were being sent to “vocational” training centers, where they are taught work skills and legal knowledge aimed at curbing militancy.

Michael Clarke, a Xinjiang expert at Australian National University who signed the statement, told reporters that China sought international respect for its weight in global affairs.

“The international community needs to demonstrate to Beijing that it will not actually get that while it’s doing this to a significant portion of its own citizenry,” Clarke said.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Reuters

See also:

China is creating concentration camps in Xinjiang. Here’s how we hold it accountable.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/china-is-creating-concentration-camps-in-xinjiang-heres-how-we-hold-it-accountable/2018/11/23/93dd8c34-e9d6-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0d09103d7a08

In Virginia, April 30 is South Vietnamese Recognition Day

April 30, 2013

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 455 Designating April 30, in 2013 and in each succeeding year, as South Vietnamese Recognition Day in Virginia.

Agreed to by the Senate, February 21, 2013Agreed to by the House of Delegates, February 22, 2013 WHEREAS, South Vietnamese Americans, a proud, industrious people, make up the fourth-largest group of Asian Americans in the United States; and

WHEREAS, a South Vietnamese mass immigration to the United States began when communist tyranny swept the former Republic of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975; and

Marking the fall of Saigon 38 years ago

Former members of the South Vietnamese military march during a ceremony at Westminster’s Boat People Monument in California to mark the April 30, 1975, fall of Saigon to the Communist North Vietnamese.   Similar events are held around the world n April 30.  (Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times / April 28, 2013)

WHEREAS, to the very end, soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) fought valiantly, defending their freedom with skill, daring, and gallantry; the ARVN 3rd Cavalry Regiment, for example, demonstrated such skill and heroism in battle that it was awarded the coveted United States Presidential Unit Citation; and

Boat People

WHEREAS, nearly 60,000 American fighters died in the Vietnam War and some 224,000 South Vietnamese troops also fell defending their nation; and

WHEREAS, although the American sacrifice in Vietnam was enormous, some of the most bitter combat—including the savage warfare after the United States’ withdrawal—was shouldered principally by our South Vietnamese allies; and

WHEREAS, the 1968 communist Tet Offensive was designed to crack South Vietnam’s will to resist, instead, South Vietnamese forces fought ferociously, and not a single unit collapsed or ran; indeed, even the police fought, turning pistols against heavily armed enemy regulars; and

WHEREAS, together with American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, the ARVN decimated the indigenous Viet Cong guerrillas, eliminating them as an effective fighting force for the remainder of the war; and

WHEREAS, most American units had left Vietnam by 1972, yet South Vietnamese units continued to perform remarkably well; with limited American help, they defeated North Vietnam’s all-out Easter Offensive, a massive conventional invasion led by Soviet T-54 tanks; and

WHEREAS, the Easter Offensive victory helped force North Vietnam to accept a negotiated end to the war; and

WHEREAS, sadly, in 1974 the United States withdrew most military support, including air power, severely restricting the flow of fuel and munitions to the ARVN; strangled by a lack of supplies, tanks and artillery pieces were allotted meager quantities of ammunition—sometimes just a few shells per day—and radios often had no batteries; and

WHEREAS, the strangulation of South Vietnamese supply lines destroyed morale and decimated combat power, making it impossible for even the bravest South Vietnamese troops to effectively defend against the final invasion by North Vietnamese soldiers; North Vietnam remained well-supplied by its communist allies in China and the Soviet Union; and

WHEREAS, everyone with ties to the Americans or the government of the Republic of Vietnam feared the threatened communist reprisals; as communist forces overran the South during the spring of 1975, 125,000 key South Vietnamese personnel were airlifted from South Vietnam to refugee centers in the United States; and

WHEREAS, as American troops and embassy staff were evacuated by waiting aircraft, terrified South Vietnamese mothers thrust their babies into the hands of complete strangers, hoping their offspring might somehow survive the approaching bloodbath; and

WHEREAS, the promised reign of terror quickly emerged and the South Vietnamese desperately fled the murderous tyranny of the communists; roughly two million South Vietnamese fled to escape North Vietnam’s promised “people’s paradise”; and

WHEREAS, launching small, crowded sampans, many South Vietnamese sailed into the vast, treacherous waters of the South China Sea, where hundreds of thousands drowned in the escape attempt; the South Vietnamese continued to flee their country in huge numbers from 1975 until the mid-1980s; and

WHEREAS, beginning in 1975 and for decades afterwards, well over one million South Vietnamese—especially former military officers and government employees—were imprisoned in communist concentration camps; these were euphemistically called “reeducation camps,” where many thousands of South Vietnamese were “educated” to their deaths; and

WHEREAS, the communist concentration camps were characterized by brutal forced labor, political indoctrination, and deadly assignments like human mine clearing; there were no formal charges or trials; and

WHEREAS, the conditions in the camps were so savage that many surviving inmates estimate that almost a third of the prisoners of war died while in captivity; and

WHEREAS, South Vietnamese immigration to the United States peaked in 1992 when, after decades of torture, many concentration camp survivors were finally released and sponsored by their families to come to this country; and

WHEREAS, after persevering through unimaginable brutality and suffering, the South Vietnamese who escaped their homeland demonstrated admirable talent and intellect; they became an entrepreneurial, upwardly mobile group, whose poverty rate rapidly declined after their arrival in the United States; and

WHEREAS, today, 82 percent of the South Vietnamese in the United States are native-born or naturalized citizens, an exceptionally high portion of American citizenship for any immigrant group; and

WHEREAS, for several decades, South Vietnamese American patriots have contributed to the United States with intellect, skill, loyalty, and determination; many have served proudly in the Armed Forces of the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly designate April 30, in 2013 and in each succeeding year, as South Vietnamese Recognition Day in Virginia; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit a copy of this resolution to the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce and the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans so that the members of these organizations may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter; and, be it

RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Clerk of the Senate post the designation of this day on the General Assembly’s website.

http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2013/sj455/fulltext/

In Falls Church, Virginia, at the Eden Center, Vietnam April 30 events are held.