‘China’s Xinjiang policy doesn’t allow anyone to cross borders’

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For years now, human rights groups have accused China of arbitrarily detaining Uyghurs…reports Asian Lite News

The release of a damning report on China by the UN rights office last August once again brought to the forefront the plight of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities, residing in northeast China’s Xinjiang province.

For years now, human rights groups have accused China of arbitrarily detaining Uyghurs, Washington-based Voice of America (VOA). A number of western countries, including the US, have described China’s treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide and prevented the import of goods made from what they describe as “slave labour.” A Uyghur man, who calls himself Jamal, recently spoke with VOA.

In an interview with the US state broadcaster, he explained that “the first priority of the Chinese policy on passports in Xinjiang is to not let anyone cross borders and to keep everyone intact inside the region.”

He said the government policy has been clear that they don’t issue new passports to Uyghurs. Speaking with an assumed name, Jamal described how fear of retaliation from Chinese authorities, prevents Uyghurs from speaking to the media even after leaving the country.

Answering how he was able to go abroad with a valid Chinese passport, Jamal said he had tried for years and gone through all the red tape in order to get his passport.

“Also, the authorities were pressured to return my passport since my spouse was a foreigner. That was, I think, the most important factor why the government returned my passport,” he said in the VOA interview.

Explaining the situation in Xinjiang, Jamal said that any Uyghur passport holder should be able to present a consent document from the provincial authorities at any customs in China.

“If a Uyghur person has a valid Chinese passport and a visa to go to a certain country but doesn’t have that government consent document, customs won’t let them cross the border,” he told VOA.

“When a Uyghur presents his Chinese ID, passport and consent document to the customs officers, they would take that person to a special designated place for Uyghurs and then call the police authorities in Xinjiang to authenticate the document,” he added.

After the UN rights office report was released in August, 2022, a group of 60 Uyghur organizations from 20 countries called for an immediate response to put an end to atrocities against Uyghurs.

According to the groundbreaking UN report, the Chinese government has committed abuses that may amount to crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in the Xinjiang region.

The report contains victim accounts that substantiate mass arbitrary detention, torture, and other serious human rights violations and recommends world to take action to end the abuses.

The report offers the most definitive assessment of the issues faced by Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples from the world’s leading human rights body.

Most notably, it finds that “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, within the context of other restrictions, “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” (ANI)

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