Closing Camps Does not Solve the Problem in Xinjiang – or the World

Uyghurs march in Brussels to call for an end to mass detentions of Uyghurs in China, April 27, 2018. Photo: RFA

 by Rune Steenberg  
September 9, 2019

In late July, Chinese government outlets announced that a large number of detainees of the “reeducation centers” in its northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had been released and that 90 percent of them had successfully found employment. The releases in itself are good news, but it does not necessarily mean that these people are now safe or in a better place.

Since May 2017, between one and three million indigenous Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples have been held in different forms of detainment in Xinjiang. The news of their release was greeted with skepticism internationally. Only two weeks earlier, 22 countries had signed a letter to the U.N. rights chief condemning China’s treatment of Xinjiang’s minorities. A counter letter applauding Beijing’s efforts to fight radicalism and extremism was subsequently signed by a group of first 38 and then 50 nations.

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