China trashes Turkey’s remark on Uighur camps

Activists protest the treatment of Uyghur Muslims by Chinese authorities in the East Turkestan region of China's Xinjiang province at a protest outside the Chinese embassy in London England on Feb. 2 2019. On Feb. 9 2019 Turkey demanded China clo

Uighur musician 'tortured to death in China camp', campaigners claim

Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and United Nations rights experts over what they call mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who live predominantly in a region claimed by Uighurs in China, which they call East Turkistan and is home to some 10 million people, most of whom are Muslim.

He also said he had been informed of the death of famed Uighur musician and poet Abdurehim Heyit, who was serving eight years in jail over one of his songs.

China has filed a formal complaint and called on Turkey to reveal the source of its information, Hua said.

"The Chinese Foreign Ministry's response to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the allegations are outrageous, we have an official initiative", the tweet read.

"I saw his video online yesterday, showing that he is not only alive but also very healthy", Hua said.

In a statement released on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said it's "no longer a secret" that China has arbitrarily detained more than a million Uyghurs in "concentration camps".

The Muslim world has been conspicuously quiet on the Uighur issue, possibly to avoid Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation.

The Uighurs are a Muslim minority who speak Turkic, a language similar to Turkish.

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But state-controlled China Radio International (CRI) released a 26-second video on its Turkish service on Sunday.

Patrick Poon, a China researcher with Amnesty International, told the ABC that it was "really weird to see Abdurehim Heyit's video after hearing various sources about his death".

But in a video that appeared today, a man - purported to be Mr Heyit - is seen rocking slightly from side to side, wearing a white and black sweater and delivering a short statement against a drab grey background.

"I'm in the process of being investigated for allegedly violating the national laws", he added, in what appeared to be the Uighur language. He states his name and gives the date as February 10, 2019, then says that he is in good health and has not been abused.

The Daily Telegraph was unable to confirm whether the video was authentic.

CRI said it was released to state media by Xinjiang's regional government. Surveillance cameras, security checkpoints and riot police have become ubiquitous in Xinjiang in recent years, but the government maintains that such measures are necessary to combat separatist violence and latent religious extremism.

After months of denying their existence, Chinese authorities, under increasing outside pressure, acknowledged the camps, terming them vocational training centres.

While Turkey and China broadly have good relations, Aksoy said he was responding to the death of Heyit in a Chinese jail.

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