In News: A leak of thousands of photos and official documents from China’s Xinjiang has shed new light on the violent methods used to enforce mass internment in the region
- The files were published as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet begins a long-awaited and controversial trip to Xinjiang.
- Documents support the claim that Chinese authorities have detained more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in a network of detention centres and prisons in the region, which Beijing has defended as training centers
- After initially denying their existence, Beijing has claimed the facilities are vocational training schools, attended voluntarily and aimed at stamping out religious extremism.
- China’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the leaked documents as “cobbled-together material” by “anti-China forces smearing Xinjiang”
- The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.
- The Uighurs speaks their own language, similar to Turkish, and sees themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.
- The Uighurs are considered to be one of the 55 officially recognized ethnic minority communities in China.
- However, China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
- Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in Xinjiang region of China.
- A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
- Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China — its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with eight countries, including India, Pakistan, Russia and Afghanistan.
Persecution of Uighurs:
- Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it in large numbers the majority Han Chinese, who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uighurs feeling their livelihoods and identity were under threat.
- This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in a riot that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi.
- Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.
- However, China claims its camps to be ‘educational centres’ where the Uighurs are being cured of “extremist thoughts” and radicalisation, and learning vocational skills.
Previous Year Questions (PYQs).
Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2018)
Regions sometimes mentioned in news – Country
- Catalonia — Spain
- Crimea — Hungary
- Mindanao — Philippines
- Oromia — Nigeria
Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?
- 1, 2 and 3
- 3 and 4 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 2 and 4 only
Source: The Hindu