Muslim Torture Camps: A Chinese official dismissed reports of Beijing establishing “political re-education camps” for Uighur Muslims in western Xinjiang province on Thursday, telling reporters that the camps are “vocational centers” necessary to integrate less wealthy citizens into the Chinese economy.
China has faced accusations of repressing the Uighur population, ethnic Turkic peoples who are predominantly Muslim and do not identify with the majority Han population, for years.
Authorities in Xinjiang banned individuals wearing beards or Islamic garb from public transportation in 2014 and have since moved to shut down mosques, ban children from practicing Islam, and impose the Han Mandarin language over the Uighur population.
On Monday, the NGO Human Rights Watch published a report revealing that the Chinese government has essentially cracked down on the entirety of the world’s Uighur population, detaining entire families in “re-education camps,” placing free citizens of Xinjiang under complete surveillance, and forcing those at home to pressure relatives abroad to come home or promote the interests of the Communist Party.
Li Xiaojun, director for publicity at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office, responded to reporters’ questions at the United Nations on the new report on Thursday, insisting first that no “mistreatment” of Muslims occurs in the country and, later, that the mistreatment that the Communist Party is allegedly not committing is necessary to curtail terrorist threats.