UN in dialogue with China for ‘unrestricted’ Xinjiang visit
Context: The UN is in negotiations with Beijing for a visit “without restrictions” to Xinjiang to see how the Uighur minority is being treated.
- At least one million Uighurs and people from other mostly Muslim groups have been held in camps in the northwestern region.
- S. and Australian rights groups accuse Chinese authorities of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.
- On Saturday, Beijing announced sanctions against two Americans, a Canadian and a rights advocacy body that had criticised its treatment of the Uighurs, which U.S. officials have said constitutes genocide.
- There are about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, living in north-western China in the region of Xinjiang, officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
- The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.
- They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.
- Recent decades saw a mass migration of Han Chinese (China's ethnic majority) to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.