UN chief held ‘frank’ talks with China president on Xinjiang’s Uyghurs

BEIJING (TCA) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed the plight of Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in a recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging the Chinese leader to respect human rights, RFE/RL reported.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on April 29 that Guterres told Xi that human rights must be “fully respected” even while combating terrorism and extremist violence.

Guterres met with Xi in Beijing on April 26, where he attended the Belt and Road Forum. Dujarric said the talks were “very cordial” and “frank”.

The comments came shortly after Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth published a harsh opinion piece in The Washington Post in which he criticized Guterres for “his silence on human rights.”

China has come under intense criticism for putting some one million Uyghurs and members of other indigenous mainly Muslim ethnic groups in “reeducation centers” in Xinjiang, a huge northwestern region bordering Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, that rights activists say are mass internment camps.

Kazakhs are the second-largest indigenous community in Xinjiang after Uyghurs, and the region is also home to ethnic Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Hui, also known as Dungans.

Also on April 29, a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) criticized China for subjecting Uyghurs to “egregious abuses.”

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Times of Central Asia