Nov 15, 2018 – 09:51
By Philip Wen, Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) – A group of 15 Western ambassadors in Beijing, spearheaded by Canada, are seeking a meeting with the top official in China’s restive, heavily Muslim Xinjiang region for an explanation of alleged rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs.
The envoys are making their request in a letter to Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang’s Communist Party boss, according to a copy of a draft letter seen by Reuters.
The move represents unusually broad, coordinated action by a group of countries over a human rights issue in China, and illustrates the mounting backlash Beijing is facing over its crackdown in the western region.
Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, academics, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home.
In August, a United Nations human rights panel said it had received many credible reports that a million or more Uighurs in China are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”.
China says it is not enforcing arbitrary detention and political re-education, but rather some citizens guilty of minor offences were being sent to vocational centres to provide employment opportunities.
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/exclusive—in-rare-coordinated-move–western-envoys-seek-meeting-on-xinjiang-concerns/44546342FILE PHOTO: Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Party Secretary Chen Quanguo attends a group discussion session on the second day of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 19, 2017. To match Exclusive CHINA-XINJIANG/ REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo