Terrifying footage of shackled and blindfolded individuals has emerged from China, providing more evidence of human rights abuses by the country. In a bizarrely brazen defence, the Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming denied any wrongdoing on behalf of the Chinese state despite fresh footage clearly showing hundreds of prisoners.
Shown the pictures during an interview by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Liu said: “I do not know where you get this videotape.”
He added: “Sometimes you have a transfer of prisoners, in any country.”
“Uighur people enjoy peaceful, harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups of people. We treat every ethnic group as equal.
“There’s no, so-called, pervasive, massive, forced sterilisation among Uighur women in China.”
But he conceded: “I cannot rule out single cases. For any country, there’s single cases.”
Human rights groups and western Governments have catalogued systematic attacks on the Muslim Uighur minority in China’s western region, including mass forced sterilisation and detainment in “re-education” camps.
The video was first posted online last year and reemerged recently following fresh allegations of human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing practices.
The abuses recently prompted the US to level sanctions against Chinese officials believed to be involved in the mass internment.
The Chinese government has previously defending the Uighur internment camps as a “necessary measure against terrorism,” saying that they offer “voluntary education and training,” though leaked documents have revealed them to be more akin to massive prisons.
The region was brought under the complete control of communist China in 1949.
It is believed that more than one million ethnic minorities, most of them Uighurs, are currently being held in detention without trial in what has been characterised as a broad campaign of forced assimilation into Chinese culture.
China’s President Xi Jinping has overseen a hardline approach towards Muslim minorities living in Xinjiang, especially the Uighurs.
In recent years, the Government has installed sophisticated surveillance technology across the region, and there has been a surge in police numbers in attempts to supposedly control the Uighurs.
Why are they being persecuted?
Uighur’s have long been the majority in the western Xinjiang region, but in recent years migration has pushed the majority down, with the main ethnic group Han Chinese now making up almost as much as the Uighurs.
In 1949, China annexed the region after it briefly declared independence.
Even though China does not recognise the region as a colony, Uighurs see this process as colonisation, and continue to resist the rule of the Government.
Many campaign for independence, while others refuse to partake in cultural norms, such as speaking Cantonese.
Beijing regards any perceived discontent or criticism of the Chinese Communist Party to be threatening, and minority dissent is treated as a danger to state security.
This is even if it involves moderate voices calling for improvements in health, education and employment.
In these camps, Chinese authorities have been accused of spates of human rights offences.
These include separating families and indoctrinating their children, spying on Uighurs abroad, launching a campaign of forced birth control and sterilisation to lower birth rates among the minority group, and compelling them to take part in forced labor schemes.
The Chinese Government has claimed that any such camps it is willing to admit exist are for ‘vocational training’,