Uyghurs: The conflict between Beijing and the West intensifies

The Basics The confrontation between China and Western countries intensified this Friday, March 26th, over the fate of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. British personalities and several foreign brands have been sanctioned by the Chinese government.

The confrontation between China and Western countries intensified this Friday March 26th over the fate of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. New sanctions from Beijing against British personalities and several foreign brands have rioted in the Chinese market.

At least one million Uyghurs interned in Xinjiang “camps”

“The United States condemns the Chinese state’s social media campaign and corporate and consumer boycotts of companies, particularly in the United States, Europe and Japan, for their decision not to use Xinjiang” cotton “for forced labor,” he said US diplomacy spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters. This brings Washington’s “support” to these brands. According to studies by American and Australian institutes, which Beijing refuted, at least one million Uyghurs were interned in “camps” in Xinjiang, northwest China. Some have been subjected to “forced labor”, particularly in cotton fields. Washington believes that the oppression of this Muslim minority is “genocide”.

Also read: Uyghurs: In response to the EU, China sanctions ten Europeans

Several clothing companies such as the Swede H & M, the American Nike, the German Adidas and the Japanese Uniqlo all promised to boycott cotton from Xinjiang last year. This region, which accounts for almost a fifth of world production and supplies many clothing giants. The controversy swelled Thursday March 26th with the announcement by several Chinese actors and singers that they would sever all ties with Nike, Adidas, Uniqlo, Converse or even Calvin Klein, whose ambassadors they were.

The diplomatic crisis surrounding the Uyghurs

Beyond this controversy, the stalemate has taken on the appearance of a diplomatic crisis over the Uighurs. They are mainly Muslim and speak a Turkish language. They represent almost half of Xinjiang’s 25 million people. The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada on Monday imposed coordinated sanctions on past or current leaders in the region where Beijing has been under severe police surveillance for several years. The Chinese authorities justify the persecution as a reaction to attacks attributed to separatists or Uighur Islamists. China assures us that the “camps” denounced by the West are “vocational training centers” designed to keep the population away from extremism.

Also read: Uyghurs: China sanctions ten Europeans

China responded to Western warnings by sanctioning ten European personalities, including five elected members of the European Parliament. All are accused of “telling lies” based on studies that China believes are biased.
Beijing on Friday extended its sanctions to nine Britons, including senior parliamentarians, and four units. The Chinese black list now includes Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission and former leader of that party, Iain Duncan Smith.

Also read: What are the fashion brands against Uighur forced labor?