France condemns “unacceptable” treatment of Uighurs in China

On Tuesday, France condemned China’s treatment of the Uighur minority and demanded that independent observers be sent to the western region of Xinjiang.

Massive detentions, forced labor, forced sterilizations … Paris has condemned the fate that Beijing reserves for the Uighurs: their detention in China is an “unacceptable” practice, condemning France on Tuesday, July 21, and demanding that Beijing provide access to independent international observers in Xinjiang, the Chinese region where this ethnic minority lives.

“France pays close attention to all the testimonies provided by the press and human rights organizations,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian told the National Assembly.

>> To read: In China, Uighurs are victims of a forced birth control policy

A repressive system

“What is clear from all the information we have or read is detention camps for Uighurs, mass prisoners, disappearances, forced labor, forced sterilizations, destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage and in particular places of worship, surveillance of the population and more generally all the repressive system set up in this region. , he continued.

“All these methods are unacceptable. We strongly condemn them,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, eliciting applause in the half-cycle. “In the immediate future, we ask that China allow access to independent international observers in this area and that it allow the (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang freely.”

An “outrageous and unacceptable” practice

In the morning, questioned on FranceInfo radio, the French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, also spoke of a practice “outrageous and unacceptable and (which) we strongly condemn”.

This question “must obviously be part of the discussion we have with our Chinese partners”, the minister added, without commenting on the existence of possible imports from France of masks that would be manufactured in forced labor centers in China.

The United States announced on Monday that it has blacklisted eleven Chinese companies, limiting their access to US technology and products, as they participate in the persecution of the Uighur minority.

These 11 companies “are involved in human rights violations linked to the campaign of repression, mass imprisonment, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric data and genetic analyzes directed at them. Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”, the US government accuses.

“Serious, shocking human rights violations”

Washington, like other Western capitals and human rights organizations, accuses China of mixing at least one million Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

China denies this figure, claiming it is a vocational training center, designed to help the population find jobs to distance them from the temptation of Islamist extremism.

For his part, the head of British diplomacy, Dominic Raab, on Sunday accused China of committing “serious, shocking human rights violations” against this Turkish-speaking Muslim minority.

The Uighurs are the main ethnic group in Xinjiang (northwest China), a huge region that has common borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular. Regularly hit by deadly attacks, attributed by Beijing to separatists or Uighur Islamists, it is under close police surveillance.

With AFP