Alice Wells, US acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, on Thursday questioned why Pakistan PM Imran Khan was not also speaking out about China, which has detained an estimated one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims.
“…I would like to see the same level of concern expressed also about Muslims who are being detained in Western China, literally in concentration-like conditions. And so being concerned about the human rights of Muslims does extend more broadly than Kashmir, and you’ve seen the administration very involved here during the UN General Assembly and trying to shine a light on the horrific conditions that continue to exist for Muslims throughout China,” Alice Wells said on Thursday while replying to a question about Pakistan PM’s alleged concerns about Kashmir.
Wells reaction came as Pakistan has ramped up its rhetoric against India over the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and expressed concern over the situation of Muslims in the region. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had even called himself an ambassador of Kashmiri people.
However, when it comes to China’s treatment of Muslims, Pakistan has been mum and when asked to comment on it, the Pakistan PM has tried to brush it aside saying that there is a lot going on in its own country.
Imran Khan, when asked about the Uighurs at a think-tank on Monday, declined to comment, saying that Pakistan had a “special relationship” with China and would only raise issues in private.
China has been condemned internationally for cracking down on the minorities living in the country. The United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in what China describes as “vocational training centres” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.
US leads condemnation of China for ‘horrific’ repression of Muslims
The United States led more than 30 countries in condemning what it called China’s “horrific campaign of repression” against Muslims in Xinjiang at an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that was denounced by China.
In highlighting abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China, deputy secretary of state John Sullivan said on Tuesday the United Nations and its member states had “a singular responsibility to speak up when survivor after survivor recounts the horrors of state repression.”
Sullivan said it was incumbent on UN member states to ensure it was able to closely monitor human rights abuses by China and added that it must seek “immediate, unhindered, and unmonitored” access to the western region of Xinjiang for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Sullivan said Tuesday’s event was co-sponsored by Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain, and was joined by more than 30 UN states, representatives of the European Union and more than 20 nongovernmental organisations, as well as Uighur victims.
“We invite others to join the international effort to demand and compel an immediate end to China’s horrific campaign of repression,” he said. “History will judge the international community for how we respond to this attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
China’s foreign ministry denounced the US move.
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