Malaysia right over Uighurs

BANGKOK POST EDITORIAL COLUMN 
15 Oct 2018 at 04:20

Malaysia has made a bold move in the continuing conundrum over the fate of refugees and illegal migrants. Last week, the Kuala Lumpur government spurned both the soft requests of Thailand and the harsh demands of China and sent 11 Chinese Uighur refugees to Turkey. The decision to free the 11 was unexpected. The new Malaysian government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was caught between a diplomatic rock and humanitarian hard place and took the more popular way out.

There could be unpleasant consequences for Malaysia over this intrepid decision. Literally within hours of the release of the Uighur men to Turkey, Beijing was issuing a strong condemnation. China had demanded that Malaysia turn over the 11 to its embassy in Kuala Lumpur. On Friday, when the release of the Uighurs was confirmed, China's Foreign Ministry issued a fast and angry statement, saying Beijing "resolutely opposes" Malaysia's action.

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