China hits back at Turkish criticism

China | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 12 Feb 2019

China hit back yesterday against Turkish criticism over its treatment of ethnic Uygurs and denied Ankara's claim that a renowned poet from the Muslim minority died in custody, calling it an "absurd lie."

Turkey's foreign ministry on Saturday severely criticized China's mass detentions of its Turkic-speaking Uygurs, and claimed poet Abdurehim Heyit died while serving a sentence of "eight years in prison for one of his songs."

But China on Sunday released a video showing a man who identified himself as Heyit saying he was still alive.

A UN panel of experts has said nearly one million Uygurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities have reportedly been held in "re-education camps" in China's western Xinjiang region, where most of the country's more than 10 million Uygurs live.

Turkey said China's treatment of Uygurs was "a great embarrassment for humanity," in perhaps the strongest condemnation yet from a Muslim country, which have been conspicuously quiet on the issue possibly to avoid Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation.

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