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Uyghur rights cause tensions between China, US embassies in Algeria

December 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Demonstrators hold Uyghur flags as they take part in a demonstration in support of Uyghur Turks against human rights violations of China on 27 December 2019 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

The Chinese embassy in Algeria protested against an “offensive” US embassy statement on the Uyghur issue, saying it was constitutes “an interference in China’s internal affairs.”

On Sunday, Washington’s embassy in Algeria posted a Facebook link to a press report about two restaurant owners in the US who are attempting to raise awareness among their customers of the ongoing persecution of Uyghurs at the hands of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Xinjiang province.

On Monday evening, the Chinese embassy in Algeria replied with another post in protest against the US diplomatic mission, saying that it was an attempt “to discredit China and interfere in its internal affairs.”

“The US embassy should have focused on strengthening cooperation with the country in which it operates (Algeria), but they are still thinking about a way to discredit other countries and interfere in states’ internal affairs, which is confusing,” Beijing said.

The post pointed out that “according to survey data published by the American Pew Research Center, 75 percent of American Muslims believe that there is serious racial discrimination against them in US society.”

READ: Turkey group seeks probe into Uyghur activist’s death

Since 1949, China has controlled the region of East Turkestan, home of the Uyghur Turkic Muslim minority, naming it “Xinjiang”, meaning “new frontier”.

In August 2018, a United Nations Human Rights Committee reported that China is holding nearly one million Uyghur Muslims in secret camps in East Turkestan.

However, China says that the centres described by the international community as “concentration camps” are “vocational training centres” and aim to “purge the minds of the detainees of extremist ideas.”

Official statistics indicate that there are 30 million Muslims in China, including 23 million Uyghurs, while unofficial reports estimate the number of Muslims at nearly 100 million.

For years, the issue of Uyghur Muslims has been a source of tension between China and Washington. Months ago, the US House of Representatives approved a draft resolution banning the import of goods produced in the Xinjiang region, after Beijing allegedly used the Uyghur forced labour in production chains.

READ: ICC rejects calls to investigate China genocide of Uyghurs