East Turkestan: Chinese Authorities Deny Ill-Treatment of Uyghurs in Response to Turkish Protest
There has been mounting unrest in Turkey as reports of Chinese authorities’ suppression of Uyghur Ramadan celebrations have spread. Istanbul was the scene of a public march, while the Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a statement expressing deep concern about the apparent treatment of Uyghurs. A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied claims that the government obstructs the freedom of religious belief for the minority group.
Below is an article published by the World Uyghur Congress
Hundreds of people have marched in Istanbul to protest against China’s persecution of its minority Muslim Uygur community. The group, which has cultural ties to Turkey, has complained of cultural and religious suppression under Chinese rule.
The protesters on Saturday [4 July 2015] carried flags representing the Uyghurs’ homeland and called for a boycott of Chinese goods.
Amid mounting anger against China, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday [30 June 2015] that said reports about the ban of fasting and observing other religious duties on Uyghurs in Xinjiang “caused sadness among the Turkish people.” The ministry said “deep concerns” about the reports were conveyed to the Chinese ambassador in Ankara, underlining that Turkey respected China’s “territorial integrity.” In response to the ministry’s statement, Hua Chunying, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, said on Wednesday [1 July 2015] that all ethnic groups in China had freedom of religious belief.
The Uyghur diaspora accuses China of a continuous campaign to restrain the religious and cultural activities of the Uighur community, which makes up almost half of the population in Xinjiang. Seyit Tümtürk, vice president of World Uyghur Congress, told Anadolu Agency earlier this week that China has been carrying out a systematic assimilation policy for decades and prevented Uyghurs from practicing their faith and culture.
Below is an article published by Al Jazeera
China has no "ethnic problem" in its far west, and Muslim Uyghur minorities there enjoy freedom of religion, the country's foreign ministry has said, following anti-China protests in Turkey over Beijing's treatment of the group.
"Uyghurs live and work in peace and contentment and enjoy freedom of religion under the rules in the constitution," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular briefing on Monday. "So the so-called 'Xinjiang ethnic problem' you mentioned that has been raised in some reports simply does not exist."
Relations between China and Turkey have worsened over Beijing's policies towards the Uyghur people, whose traditional home is in the far western region of Xinjiang.
Many Turks see themselves as sharing religious and cultural ties with Uyghurs, who have reportedly been banned from worship and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Turkey vowed last week to keep its doors open to Uyghur migrants fleeing persecution in China. Turkey has also irked China by expressing concern over the reports of restrictions on Uyghurs during Ramadan.
Hundreds of protesters marched on the Chinese consulate in Istanbul on Sunday, bearing flags and chanting anti-China slogans outside the building.
Beijing warned on Sunday its citizens travelling in Turkey to be careful of anti-China protests, saying some tourists have recently been "attacked and disturbed".
The notice, posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Sunday, said there had been "multiple" demonstrations in Turkey targeting the Chinese government. "Absolutely do not get close to or film the protests, and minimize to the greatest extent outside activities on one's own," the Chinese notice said.
Hundreds of people have been killed over the past three years in a series of attacks in Xinjiang. Beijing has blamed the attacks on fighters who seek to form an independent state called East Turkestan.