US calls to reject Beijing’s demands to repatriate ethnic Uyghurs to China

BISHKEK (TCA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on all countries to reject China’s demand to repatriate ethnic Uyghurs to China, where they face repression, RFE/RL reported.

Pompeo said on September 22 that Beijing’s detention of Uyghur Muslims in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang had nothing to do with terrorism, as China claims, but was an attempt “to erase” minority cultures and religions.

“I want to make clear that China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism. It’s about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens…. We call on all countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate the Uyghurs,” Pompeo said.

He made the comments after a meeting with the foreign ministers of five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly.

UN experts and activists say at least one million Uyghurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the remote western Xinjiang region.

Beijing insists the detention sites are “vocational” centers aimed at training and skills development.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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