Chinese embassy takes up full-page ad to show it ‘cares’ for Uighurs

FMT Reporters
February 1, 2019 3:31 PM

PETALING JAYA: The Chinese government today took up a full-page advertorial in a local English-language daily to defend itself against what it said was a malicious campaign over the plight of the Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.

In a full-page article in The Star under the title “The Real Xinjiang”, the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur said Beijing had been safeguarding the rights of the Uighurs but “certain people” were out to tarnish its image.

“Recently, certain people have started a smear campaign, alleging that Xinjiang has been turned into a massive internment camp locking in millions of people, a land of hostility and hatred, with no religious freedom. We hope to explain the real Xinjiang by sharing some facts and information,” it said.

It said the constitution of China guarantees religious freedom, and state laws protect the right to practise one’s beliefs. It also cited the Xinjiang provincial government’s role in organising pilgrimages to Mecca.

The move appears to be part of an international campaign by Beijing to allay concerns by human rights groups over the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang.

Beijing has in recent times clamped down on what it says are terrorist and extremist cells, although activists have documented human rights violations including a ban on Muslim practices and detention of tens of thousands of Uighurs in so-called “re-education camps”.

The oil-rich province, made up of vast deserts and mountains, occupies about one-sixth of China’s territory.

The Chinese embassy’s article today comes just as Al-Jazeera broadcast a new documentary on the plight of the Uighurs, which includes an interview with an Uighur teacher who alleged that he was sexually assaulted after being imprisoned for raising money for a Uighur-language school.

“They are insane. Those officials, they want to wipe out Uighurs. They want us to believe Chinese culture is superior, that it is the only culture and only superior civilisation in the world,” he said in the 101 East programme.