By Patrick Brogan
China has been accused of turning the Xinjiang province into an internment camp to house minorities and dissidents, most notably the Uyghurs which make up nearly half the population.
At a UN meeting, Beijing faced the allegation that it held up to one million Uyghurs in captivity, many of which are poorly fed and tortured according to sources. While officials have denied the numbers, they did chillingly admit that those deceived by “extremists” would be “assisted by resettlement and re-education”. Hostility between the Chinese Government and Muslim Uyghur community has been tense for a number of years now with violent clashes becoming too common.
The Uyghurs are an indigenous Muslim population living in China’s far West. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, the Chinese told the world that the Uyghurs had links to al-Qaeda without offering any evidence. However, Beijing is committed to clearing the region of Uyghurs, who are genetically closer to Central Asians, and putting Han Chinese, the most populous group in the country, in their stead, much like they are doing in Tibet. This has two effects, it clears those regions of groups the Chinese sees as troublesome. It also secures the Western front, particularly the border with India, and leaves Han Chinese in control of the country’s major riverways, many of which start in these two locations.
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