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Uyghurs starving as China imposes draconian coronavirus measures

People gather to stage a demonstration in support of Uyghur Turks against human rights violations of China, at Orhangazi Park in Bursa, Turkey on December 20, 2019 [Ali Atmaca / Anadolu Agency]
People gather to stage a demonstration in support of Uyghur Turks against human rights violations of China, at Orhangazi Park in Bursa, Turkey on December 20, 2019 [Ali Atmaca / Anadolu Agency]

Activists in Xinjiang have complained that they are suffering shortages of food and medicine as China imposes a quarantine to curb the spread of coronavirus, reports the New Arab.

The Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project has said that residents inside Xinjiang province, East Turkestan, have been ordered to stay inside their homes and that they are starving because they don’t have access to adequate food and supplies.

Last week a video circulated by activists of an Uyghur man saying “I am hungry and my kids are hungry. Do you want me to kill myself?” went viral.

The Uyghur Project has also expressed concern that coronavirus could spread inside the so-called “re-education detention camps” where some 1.8 million people are held on spurious terror-related charges.

Detainees report horrific abuse inside, including rape and sterilisation.

READ: Not all Uyghurs are terrorists, Turkey tells China

Authorities have used the epidemic to install further punitive measures on the population, including erecting metal fences some two metres high in the city of Artux to prevent residents from leaving their neighbourhoods.

Roads have been closed off as part of the quarantine, which has been in effect since 23 January, which has affected the supply of food and medicine.

In some parts of Xinjiang residents who leave their homes face 15 days detention in these camps. Others have reported needing urgent medical care but not being allowed to leave the house to receive adequate treatment.

Last week there was an outcry after Egyptian authorities announced they were resuming flights to China as countries across the world maintained their flight suspension to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The total confirmed cases across the world has now reached 82,171.

READ: Uyghurs in Saudi Arabia facing an impossible choice

Following the announcement Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter of thanks and appreciation to the Egyptian general for his solidarity and support in the fight against coronavirus.

The Egyptian government has since postponed its decision to resume flights.

China has invested millions in Egypt and Cairo is keen to keep its benefactor happy.

In 2017 the Egyptian government contacted Uyghur students living in the US, Europe, Turkey and Egypt and demanded they return to Xinjiang.

Those that responded either disappeared shortly after arriving home or have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.

The Chinese government has pressured countries seeking a closer relationship with the communist government to arrest them and hand them over.

That same year Egypt raided homes and arrested more than 20 Uyghur students in one day.

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