Interview: ‘The U.S. is Taking The Issue of The Concentration Camps Quite Seriously’

Dolkun Isa, the president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Omer Kanat, chairman of the WUC Executive Committee, paid a brief visit to Washington on Monday, amid growing U.S. government concern for the Chinese government’s treatment of the roughly 11 million Uyghurs living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The United Nations, human rights groups and independent experts estimate that China is holding a million Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas in political re-education camps in the XUAR. The camps, whose existence China has indirectly acknowledged while claiming they are vocational training facilities and disputing the numbers incarcerated, has prompted calls by U.S. lawmakers for targeted sanctions against select Chinese government officials. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies to punish Beijing’s detention of Uyghurs and other minority Muslims in internment camps. Alim Seytoff, director of RFA’s Uyghur Service, spoke to the two leaders of the Munich-based WUC, which lobbies for the interests of Uyghurs, after their discussions at the White House about the situation in Xinjiang. Isa, 51, learned in July that his mother died on May 17 at the age of 78 in one of the camps. He refers to Xinjiang as East Turkestan, the Uyghurs’ preferred name for their homeland.


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