The Interview

Uighur leader slams 'silent' Muslim countries over camps in China

Dolkun Isa is the head of the World Uyghur Congress, a Germany-based group representing the Muslim Uighur (also spelled Uyghur) minority who live in western China. In an interview with FRANCE 24, he said the so-called "reeducation" camps created by China to hold Uighurs are "21st century concentration camps". He also blasted Muslim countries for failing to speak out about the fate of China's Uighurs.


According to human rights groups, between one and three million people have been held in China's "re-education" camps since the facilities were set up in April 2017.

Speaking to FRANCE 24, the head of the World Uighur Congress denounced the "physical and mental torture" and "brainwashing" endured by Uighurs in the camps, brushing aside the Chinese government’s claim that these are aimed at fighting terrorism and providing training to the local population.

Isa claimed the camps were instead part of a policy of "ethnic cleansing" and that the terrorist accusations by the government against him and other Uighurs were trumped up in order to quell dissent.

>> On Chinese 're-education' camps: Muslim Uighurs speak out

Asked about international reactions, Isa said he was encouraged that several Western countries had recently called on Beijing to shut down the camps, but he regretted that US President Donald Trump had not brought up the issue in his meetings with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Finally, he blasted Muslim countries for being largely "silent" over the fate of the Uighurs, saying it was a "shame" that they were unwilling to speak up to defend their fellow Muslims.

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