(WASHINGTON, DC - 7/31/2019) The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined the Save Uighur Campaign in calling on government officials, corporations, and activists to maintain pressure on China until the Communist Party ends its ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims, and provides proof that it has done so.
According to a report in The New York Times, senior Chinese officials yesterday publicly claimed that the government has released "some" or a "majority" of Uighur Muslims detained in internment camps in the Xingjiang region. Officials did not provide any proof in support of its announcement about the camps, the very existence of which China once denied.
“These statements prove that the Chinese Communist Party had incarcerated more than a million Uyghur Muslims," said Hena Zuberi, Director of Outreach for the Chicago-based Save Uighur Campaign. "It had been vehemently denying this for the past few years. Until the Chinese government allows international media, relief organizations, aid agencies and diaspora Uighur unfettered access to the region, none of these claims hold any weight.”
Zuberi added, "We look forward to Muslim countries who have aligned themselves with China and endorsed China’s policies assisting in getting these demands met."
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"No one should trust or accept the Chinese government's unsubstantiated claim that it has released some Uighur Muslims prisoners, nor would this step alone be sufficient.
"The Chinese government must provide the international community with proof that it has freed every single person detained in its concentration camps, ended mass surveillance of the Uighur Muslim community, stopped demolishing ancient houses of worship, and granted Uighurs the right to live, travel, and worship freely."
"Until then, the American government should impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the concentration camps, American businesses should suspend operations in the Xinjiang region, and journalists around the world should continue to ask hard questions. More importantly, Muslim-majority nations around the world should take the lead in doing all of the same."
Twenty-two member states of the United Nations recently called o China 22 countries to close the camps, while 37 states defended the camps, including several Muslim-majority nations with economic and political ties to China.
During a recent visit to China, the UN Secretary-General also called for an independent UN investigation into the camps.