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15 Western ambassadors raise concerns about Xinjiang in letter , Jeremy Goldkorn

A significant development in the international response to the situation in Xinjiang:

A group of 15 foreign ambassadors in China, all from Europe other than the ambassadors of Australia and Canada, signed on to a letter primarily drafted by Canada raising concerns about Xinjiang, Reuters reports.“We are deeply troubled by reports of the treatment of ethnic minorities, in particular individuals of Uyghur ethnicity, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In order to better understand the situation, we request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these concerns,” the draft of the letter seen by Reuters reads. The letter is addressed to Chén Quánguó 陈全国, the top Communist Party official in Xinjiang.Strangely absent from the list of signatories is the American ambassador, although the U.S. embassy gave this response to Reuters: “We remain alarmed that since April 2017 the Chinese government has detained an estimated 800,000 to possibly more than 2 million Uighurs, Kazaks and other Muslims in internment camps for political re-education.”The “800,000 to possibly more than 2 million” is a novel estimate, and “look like internal numbers” that the U.S. government has calculated, scholar of Xinjiang Rian Thum notes.

Other recent developments relating to Xinjiang:

Foreign Ministry’s initial response to the letter
China says foreign concerns over Muslim rights unwarranted / AP
“China says 15 foreign ambassadors exceeded their diplomatic roles by issuing a letter expressing concern about the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of members of the country’s Muslim minorities in re-education camps.”UN also raises concerns
U.N. Rights Officials Criticize China Over Muslim Internments / NYT (porous paywall)
“Six United Nations officials and rights experts said in a letter sent on Monday to the Chinese government that the regulations were a violation of international law, and they urged that those responsible be held accountable.”Further reporting
'Cultural genocide': How China is tearing Uyghur families apart in Xinjiang / CNN
'My family has been broken': Pakistanis fear for Uyghur wives held In China / NPRGovernment propaganda
Xinjiang Uygurs: China boasts of its protection and support for cultures in white paper / SCMPEffects on business
Simon Rabinovitch on Twitter: “This week I saw a group of managers from large western institutional investors (eg, pension funds) that, through index allocations, have ended up holding shares in Hikvision, one of the biggest suppliers of surveillance equipment to Xinjiang. They are worried—less, if I were to guess, out of the goodness of their hearts than because of possible US sanctions against Hikvision for its role in Xinjiang.”Uyghur activist groups
Uyghurs in exile urge an end to ‘business as usual’ approach with China, call for action for immediate closure of internment camps / Uyghur World Congress

—Lucas Niewenhuis


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