A leak of files attributed to Chinese police, including thousands of photos of detainees including women, minors and the elderly, casts a harsh light on the plight of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
These documents were published on Tuesday by a group of 14 international media, including the French daily The worldwhile the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bacheletbegins a long-awaited visit to this vast region of northwest China.
They were given by an anonymous source to the German researcher Adrian Zenzthe first to accuse the Chinese regime in 2018 of having interned more than a million Uighurs in political re-education centers.
Beijing has always denied this number, denouncing “the lie of the century” and claiming that these sites are in fact “professional training centers” aimed at deradicalizing people tempted by Islam or separatism, after a series of attacks that bloodied the region.
But the documents published on Tuesday tend to prove that the presence of the “interns” in these centers is not voluntary. They “Tear to pieces the veneer of Chinese propaganda”Zenz told the BBC.
More than 2,800 passport photos of detainees include that of Zeytunigul Ableheta 17-year-old girl arrested for listening to a forbidden speech, and 16-year-old Bilal Qasim, apparently convicted of his ties to other prisoners.
A haggard and emaciated woman calledAnihan Hamit73 at the time of his arrest, he is the oldest on the list.
Another image shows guards holding batons holding a chained prisoner.
Written documents support the idea of an orderly repression from the top of the Chinese state.
A speech attributed to Police Minister Zhao Kezhi in 2018 explains that President Xi Jinping ordered the expansion of detention centers.
According to Zhao, at least two million people in southern Xinjiang are believed to be “seriously influenced by the infiltration of extremist thought”.
Uighurs form almost the majority of Xinjiang’s population (26 million people).
In a 2017 speech, Chen Quanguo, then area chief, ordered guards to shoot anyone who tried to escape and “observe the believers closely”.
Beijing has categorically rejected Adrian Zenz’s findings.
they are just “the latest example of an attack on Xinjiang carried out by anti-China forces”exploded tuesday Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy.
Berlin asks Beijing “clarifications”
The head of German diplomacy on Tuesday asked her Chinese counterpart “clarifications” after these revelations about the repression against the Muslim minority of the Uighurs.
“The Foreign Minister referred to the shocking reports and new documents about serious human rights violations in Xinjiang and demanded clarification on these allegations.”said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a videoconference meeting between Annalena Baerbock and your Chinese colleague Wang Yi.
“Human rights, the protection of which Germany is committed to throughout the world, are an elementary component of the international order”underlines the ministry in a press release.
“The preservation of human rights is what weighs the most in the balance”added Tuesday night the Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck in a statement, assuring that the government, composed of social democrats, greens and liberals, “changed its approach to China-related issues”.
“We are increasingly diversifying and also reducing our dependence on China” added the ecologist, also Minister of Economy.
Beijing is Germany’s main economic partner: more than 245 billion euros were exchanged between the two countries in 2021, an increase of 15.1% in one year.
The United States, meanwhile, expressed outrage on Tuesday at the revelations it said showed the acts were likely tolerated at the highest level in Beijing.
“We are shocked by this shocking information and images”State Department spokesperson said. Net priceabout the leak of files attributed to Chinese police.
“It seems very difficult to imagine that a systematic action to suppress, imprison, carry out a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity does not have the blessing – or approval – of the highest levels of government of the People’s Republic of China”he declared.