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Egypt praises China’s ‘remarkable rights achievements’ despite Uyghur crackdown

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) and China's president Xi Jinping (R) shake hands during a meeting within the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) summit, in Xiamen, China on September 5, 2017 [Egyptian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Egypt, an ally of China, has backed a Belarus text that praises Beijing for “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights” despite increasing condemnation for its treatment of the Uyghurs in the northwest region of Xinjiang where thousands are being held in internment camps.

On Tuesday, 23 nations backed a British statement condemning Beijing’s human rights record, but it was countered by 54 other countries including Pakistan, Russia, Bolivia, Serbia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

China has rounded up some two million Uyghur Muslims, who report being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol in the internment camps.

Over the past several years China has completely or partially destroyed 15 mosques in Xinjiang and banned long beards and headscarves.

In August a letter outlining the support of 37 mainly Muslim majority countries for China’s crackdown on Uyghurs as a necessary counter-terror measure ignited outrage.

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One of the countries on the list, Qatar, later wrote to the UN Human Rights Council and asked for its name to be withdrawn.

The Chinese government is leaning on countries wishing to move closer to Beijing to arrest and hand over Uyghurs. Uyghurs in Morocco, the UAE and Pakistan have all faced deportation back to China.

Two years ago Egypt security forces raided houses where Uyghurs were living and sent them to the Chinese embassy in Egypt.

Many were deported then forcibly disappeared and put in prison when they arrived home.

“Everyone takes their priority first and [Egypt] need China’s money,” Uyghur activist Abdugheni Sabit told MEMO.

“Everything depends on economy and business interests. Countries like Egypt don’t care about human rights, humanity or an Islamic brotherhood because they don’t give any basic rights to their own people.”

Over 4,000 people have been arrested in Egypt since the 20 September protests spread across the country calling for Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stand down.

Detainees have reported systematic torture including the denial of medical care inside Egyptian jails. There are roughly 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt.

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