New revelations from a data leak show the extent of the persecution and mass detention in Xinjiang, northwest China, according to media reports. The publications, which China’s leadership dismissed as “slanderous,” upset German-Chinese relations.
An international media network, including the news magazine Der Spiegel, Bayerische Rundfunk, the British BBC, USA Today and the newspaper Le Monde, reported on the Xinjiang Police Files. The documents, thousands of photos and official speeches offer a rare insight into the re-education camps and treatment of Uyghurs and other members of minorities in Xinjiang.
In a one-hour video conference with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) called for the allegations to be clarified transparently. In Berlin, she then commented on the “Xinjiang Police Files”: “I think everyone who sees these pictures gets chills down their spines”. They are “disturbing and frightening, and they underpin what has been around for a long time, that the most serious violations of human rights are being committed in Xinjiang”.
Referring to her conversation with Wang Yi, she emphasized: “It’s not something you can ignore, and it’s not something you can remain silent about either.” It is primarily up to China “to make it clear how they feel about it , and above all to explain why the attitude up to now has been that there are no human rights violations there”.
The US government has reacted with shock to reports related to the persecution and mass detention of minorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region. “Appalled by the Xinjiang police files showing China’s mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweeted on Tuesday.
The spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, also commented on the “Xinjiang Police Files”: “We are appalled by the reports.” When asked whether, according to the US State Department, the acts in Xianjiang were directly attributable to the Chinese President Xi Jinping, Price said, in a system like China’s, it is hard to imagine that such a campaign of repression and detention would not have the blessing of the highest levels of government.
The United Nations has expressed concern over new revelations related to the persecution and mass detention in northwest China’s Xinjiang region.
“We have seen the reports, which are very worrying,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York on Tuesday. He pointed out that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is currently in China to discuss the issue of the treatment of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
The data leaks “unmask the Chinese propaganda and reveal a picture of horror,” said Renata Alt (FDP), chairwoman of the Bundestag’s human rights committee. China’s goal is to eradicate the culture, religion and ethnic identity of the Uyghurs. An entire nation is accused of terrorism across the board. “China must be held accountable for these atrocities,” Alt said.