Uighur abuses: Australia urged to impose sanctions on China

<pre><pre>Uighur abuses: Australia urged to impose sanctions on China

Australia is urged to join the push for economic sanctions against China for the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The Uighur Diaspora of Australia has urged the government to follow the example of US senators who described the treatment of the minority group as a "human rights crisis".

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 Uighur Muslims live in Australia.

Last month, a UN human rights panel said it had received credible reports of up to one million Uighurs who could remain in detention, alleges that China dismissed them.

Reports say that the secret "internment camps" are designed to rid the Turkish Muslim minority of their devotion to Islam and swear allegiance to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Nurmuhammad Tukistani, of the Australian Association of East Turkistan, said that the treatment of Uighurs by Chinese officials has had a high cost on the mental health of the local community.

"The daily trauma we have about the situation is deeply affecting our lives, our work, our social interactions," he told SBS News.

"I am the father of four children, I had to give up my job … because I can not deal with the recurrence of atrocities, the trauma has deeply affected me, both the mental and the physical and the emotional side".

The association has submitted a petition with 10,000 signatures to parliament, asking the Australian government to press for an end to the detention policy in Xinjiang.

A spokesman for the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said that consular officials have raised the issue with their Chinese counterparts.

"The Australian government is concerned about the situation in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China," the statement provided to SBS News said.

"Our officials have conveyed these concerns to China on several occasions, including concerns about relatives of Uighur Australians."

Requests for sanctions follow the publication of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report documenting the impact of the crackdown.

The former detainee Tohti was quoted in the report as saying: "[W]what they want is to force us to assimilate, to identify with the country, so that, in the future, the idea of ​​Uighur is only in name, but without its meaning. "

Maya Wang, China's lead researcher at HRW urged nations, including Australia, to put pressure on the Chinese government.

"Abuses in Xinjiang are already affecting foreign citizens or families of those living abroad, people are being held for having families abroad," he said.

"Governments really need to intensify dramatically … Not least because Australia has one of the largest Uyghur diasporas outside of Xinjiang."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the report and said that HRW is "full of prejudice."

His spokesman Geng Shuang said: "The series of policy measures put in place in Xinjiang are aimed at promoting stability, development, unity and livelihoods, and at the same time take energetic action in accordance with the law against ethnic separatism and violent terrorist terrorist activities, to protect the security of the country, the life and property of the people ".

Anna Hayes, from James Cook University, has researched security issues in China.

She said that the official description of the Chinese government belies its deepest motivation to protect "territorial integrity".

"The official narrative of the Chinese state is that [the Xinjiang region] It has been part of the official homeland since antiquity and is full of multi-ethnic harmony.

"But that's just not the case … They are very concerned that a place like Xinjiang, very similar to Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Taiwan, knows that these provinces or regions can be separated, and that they will lose territory in the process.

"Xinjiang is home to an abundance of natural resources, so they want to keep them."

US politicians have suggested that the Trump administration cut off the provision of technology used in Uyghur surveillance.

Dr. Hayes said that for any sanction to be effective, Australia will achieve more by acting together with nations like the United States.