A Chinese Uyghur Muslim participates in an anti-China protest during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Uyghur’s International Reaction: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. Countries defending China over Uyghur treatment

Not only is there widespread international support for China’s treatment of the Uyghur population, but countries are officially signing letters of support. More than 30 countries have signed a letter defending China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region in response to Western criticism, as well as praising China’s “contribution to the international human rights cause” in the letter sent to the UN’s Human Rights Council on Friday.

Among the countries that signed, are prominently Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, UAE and Kuwait. Many countries from central and West Africa also signed, including Nigeria and Congo, as well as several countries from South America, including Cuba and Bolivia.

For many, China’s economic heft is a primary concern when deciding to rebuke Beijing so publicly. For other states, such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea, their own human rights records at home have come under frequent attack abroad and so defending China becomes a roundabout way of defending themselves.

2. Countries protesting Uyghur treatment in China

The first letter signed, however, was in a bid against China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, including their placement in concentration camps. 22 countries signed this letter, mostly from Europe, notably the UK, France and Germany, as well as Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the group of 22 nations urged China to end its “mass arbitrary detentions and related violations” and called on Beijing to allow UN experts to access the region.


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