English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Why are the Muslim nations keeping quiet over Xinjiang abuse?

The old town in the western Chinese city of Kashgar, Xinjiang (Photo: Simina Mistrenau/dpa/IANS)

Islamic nations have responded to the UN report on Chinese atrocities in Xinjiang with a deafening silence. None of the nearly four dozen countries in Asia and Africa have said anything about China’s excesses on the Muslim minority.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had released a much-awaited report on August 31 severely condemning China’s treatment of the Uyghurs. The report says that China’s treatment of the Muslim minority, “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”


In stark contrast to the universal global condemnation of China stood the timid response of the nearly four dozen Muslim countries–all of who had recently stood together asking vociferously for an international day on Islamophobia. Even the voluble Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has not said anything about China’s repression of the Uyghurs.

India Narrative spoke with Namrata Hasija, Research Associate at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy (CCAS), to understand the silence of the Muslim nations.

Hasija said: “China often takes hand picked foreign delegations from Muslim countries to Xinjiang, who write glorious reports about Xinjiang saying that it is a developed region and that nothing wrong is happening there. Even Pakistan refuses to talk about Xinjiang because of the money it gets from China”.

She adds that China, which is the second largest economy, has used the $14 trillion to arm twist many Islamic countries into accepting that they should look at the world through Chinese lenses.

“In the Arab world, particularly Saudi Arabia, China has started selling weapons as well. If the US refuses the weapons, China gives them those weapons. Even though the US sale of weapons is much higher, there are other strategic factors that influence the Arab world”, says Hasija.

With the powerful bloc of Muslim nations sidelining the Xinjiang abuses, the only Muslim voices that have supported the UN investigation are the exiled Ughyur groups that are based across the world.

The ‘Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region’ issued a statement on Friday urging major entities–the UN, governments, multilateral institutions, and global corporations to spell out urgent steps to address crimes against the Muslim and Turkic minorities.

The Coalition added that the new human rights commissioner, who joins in place of Bachelet, should keep up the pressure on China.

Similarly, Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress said that the UN report is important as it “paves the way for meaningful and tangible action by member states, the various UN bodies, and the business community. Accountability starts now,” adding that the world has to take action against China.

The UN investigation on Xinjiang has opened a can of worms with Beijing stoutly denying the abuses in Xinjiang. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that the report was: “orchestrated and produced by the US and some Western forces and is completely illegal, null and void.”

Irrespective of China’s protestations of innocence, the West has coalesced on the issue.

In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “The report deepens our grave concern regarding the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that China is perpetrating”.

Taking the discussion forward, the White House said that China should allow independent investigators to gain access to Tibet also–a territory that had been annexed by China forcefully in 1959.

Jean-Pierre said: “… we will call on China to immediately cease committing these atrocities, release those unjustly detained, account for those disappeared, and allow independent investigators full and unhindered access to Xinjiang, Tibet, and across China”.

India, which has been holding prolonged talks with Beijing on a serious border dispute, too shared its observations about China’s mistreatment of minorities. In the weekly External Affairs Ministry briefing, spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “Our understanding is that the report is about serious maltreatment of minorities in Xinjiang. But this is a UNHRC report so let the UN comment on it…”.

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s Foreign Policy chief lauded the report saying that the EU welcomes the release of the assessment report of human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region “which underscores the serious human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang”.

Also Read: Dalai Lama’s nephew bugles global action against China for violations in Xinjiang

Chinese citizen journalist films secret footage of Uighur concentration camps, watch video here