The vice-governor of China’s Xinjiang region responded to international condemnation of state-run detention camps on Tuesday by saying they were vocational centres which had helped “save” people from extremist influences.
China had now effectively contained terrorism and religious extremism in Xinjiang, Vice-Governor Erkin Tuniyaz told the UN Human Rights Council in an appearance that was criticised by the United States.
UN experts and activists say at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in the detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills. “By setting up vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law, we aim to educate and save those who were influenced by religious extremism and committed minor legal offences,” said Tuniyaz, who is a Uighur.
“This will prevent them from becoming victims of terrorism and extremism and to protect the basic human rights other citizens from infringement,” he said. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the forum on Monday, the first day of its three-week session, that she continued to raise issues related to Xinjiang, including unfettered access to the western region, and other matters with China. (RTRS)