Uygur video sparks relatives' backlash

China | ASSOCIATED PRESS 13 Feb 2019

Members of the Uygur Muslim ethnic group are calling on China to post videos of their relatives who have disappeared into a vast system of internment camps.

The social media campaign, launched early yesterday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, follows the release of a state media video showing famed Uygur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who many believed had died in custody.

China has come under increasing scrutiny for the camps holding an estimated one million minority Muslims in its far west Xinjiang region. Former detainees who fled overseas say that while they were held captive, they were ordered to renounce their faith and pledge loyalty to the Communist Party through indoctrination tactics.

Beijing, which long denied the existence of such facilities, now says they are vocational training centers where Uygurs, Kazakhs and others receive free skills education.

In a rare show of public criticism from a majority Muslim nation, Turkey on Saturday called China's treatment of Uygurs "a great cause of shame for humanity," and condemned the "concentration camps" and "systematic assimilation" to which Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang are subject.

Many Uygurs outside of China have said they are unable to contact relatives still in Xinjiang. Fearing that their loved ones have been ensnared by the security dragnet, they say they do not even know whether their family members are dead or alive.

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