the European Union puts pressure on China

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Western mobilization in favor of the Uyghur minority in China continues to strengthen. On Monday, September 14, at the end of a summit between Chinese and European leaders with a mainly economic tone, the President of the Council Charles Michel again proposed to China the sending of“Independent observers” in the autonomous province of Xinjiang, where this minority is persecuted.

→ EXPLANATION. Who are the Uyghurs?

“We reiterate our concerns about China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as the fate of human rights defenders and journalists”, he told reporters after the video conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A million Uyghurs in camps

The Uyghurs, Muslims and Turkic speakers, constitute the main ethnic group in Xinjiang, a huge region in western China which notably has common borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The United States, like other Western countries and many international organizations, accuses Beijing of carrying out large-scale persecutions against Uyghurs and of having arbitrarily interned more than one million Muslims in Xinjiang in camps.

China denies this figure and claims that they are vocational training centers, intended to help the population find jobs in order to distance them from the temptation of Islamist extremism. In addition to these massive detentions, Beijing is also accused of forced sterilizations in the region.

New US sanctions

The EU, which judges the measures taken in Xinjiang “Disproportionate” in relation to the supposed objectives of the fight against terrorism, had already called in the past for the dispatch of observers, but without effect.

At the end of July, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian had proposed that a “International mission by independent observers”, ” under the leadership “ UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, is going to Xinjiang to investigate.

→ ANALYSIS. Faced with China, the West in dispersed order

Washington, which for its part has already adopted targeted sanctions against political leaders and companies involved in Xinjiang, also announced Monday, September 14 additional measures, blocking the import of a series of goods – hair products, cotton , computer parts or textiles – manufactured in factories in Xinjiang, accusing Beijing of having recourse to “Forced labor” of the Muslim minority.

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