Nikki Haley Slams China’s ‘Free Vocational Training' Internment Camps

By Staff Sgt. Jorge Intriago [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

More than one million ethnic minorities are detained in the internment camp.

Nikki Haley, the outgoing United States Ambassador to United Nations, came down heavily on China on October 15 over Beijing's hard internment of ethnic and religious minorities , specifically Uighur Muslims. She described the scene as one of the biggest civilian internments in the present world, and alleged it could be the biggest since the Second World War. Haley added that about a million Uighurs and a number of other Muslim minorities are imprisoned in what China calls "re-education camps" in the western part of China.

The government-controlled Chinese media swiftly rose to its defense. It labeled the internment of minority groups as a kind of "free vocational training." Beijing argued that the camp's lessons in science and Mandarin prevented Muslim minorities from sliding into religious extremism. It said these actions will push the population to a modern and civilized world, a
view
which analysts say bears colonial overtones.

As per a United Nations panel estimate, approximately one million Uighurs and Kazakhs along with other minorities are arbitrarily detained in multiple mass internment camps located in Xinjiang, a province located in western China. According to former detainees, those detained are compelled to disavow their personal Islamic beliefs in camps. If those detained have children, the latter gets placed in orphanages scattered all over the region. Beijing's unstated aim is to assimilate the indigenous ethnic minorities in its Central Asian territory into the larger Han Chinese society and thence to a more "modern" lifestyle.

Turkic speaking Uighurs have for long resented restrictions on their religious practices. If they are to be believed, the minorities face considerable discrimination in not only jobs but also access to passports. Shohrat Zakir, the Governor of Xinjiang province, has described the extrajudicial detention of Muslims as "free vocational training."

Haley's comments come at a time when tensions between Beijing and Washington are especially high with the continuing trade war between these two countries. The Trump administration in September attacked imports from China with a 10 percent tariff applicable on goods worth $200 billion. The response from Beijing was swift: China followed it with putting $60 billion tariffs on American goods. Trump said the United States would raise the tariff to 25 percent if the U.S. cannot close a favorable trade deal with China. He also threatened about $257 billion tariffs applicable to Chinese products. It will be applicable to all products imported from China.

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