A US congressional report warned of a “dire human rights situation” in China, especially the country’s mass internment of Uighurs and other Muslim ethic minorities in “political
The report, released on Wednesday by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said the detention may represent the biggest imprisonment of an ethnic minority population since World War II and may constitute crimes against humanity.
The Republican leaders of the commission also warned in a separate letter to the FBI that China’s efforts to rein in Uighurs is stretching to the US, where they said members of the group are facing harassment from Beijing.
Rubio and Smith say the Chinese government has subjected Uighurs to detention, torture and surveillance and that there have been credible reports of the extrajudicial detention of more than 1 million individuals in “political reeducation” camps. The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Chinese ethnic minority of mostly Sunni Muslims. They comprise some 10 million of the 22 million people who populate Alaska-sized Xinjiang in far western China. Uighurs have close ethnic and cultural ties to Central Asia and some refer to Xinjiang as East Turkestan.
China has said it’s cracking down terrorism. President Xi Jinping has ordered authorities to “strike first” against extremism, amid reports that as many as 5,000 Uighurs were fighting alongside terror groups in Syria. Beijing authorities have described the re-education camps as providing “vocational training,” according to the AP.