China trashes Turkey’s remark on Uighur camps


China released a video of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit late Sunday in an attempt to disprove reports of his death in custody.

The mere act of communicating with someone overseas could spur detention, Uighurs say, and as a result many of their relatives in China have blocked them on social media.

The Chinese embassy in Turkey said in a statement that the poet, 57-year-old Abdurehim Heyit, had been arrested for suspected crimes violating state security and was in good health.

A Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters that while it was naturally a positive development if the video was "true" and Heyit was alive, the main issue the Turkish foreign ministry addressed in its statement was the "heavy violations" of human rights in China.

"I saw his (Heyit's) video online yesterday, showing that he is not only alive but also very healthy", she said.

Turkey called on China to close its internment camps for Uighur Muslims, saying the camps which reportedly hold a million ethnic people are a "great shame for humanity".

Sixteen leading global human rights organizations have called for an worldwide investigation into China's mass incarceration of the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province. China has filed a formal complaint and called on Turkey to reveal the source of its information, Hua said.

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A day after Turkey slammed China's alleged mistreatment of its Muslim minority population of Uighurs in the Xinjian province, Beijing has refuted the charges along with calling for Ankara to withdraw its statements.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy, breaking Turkey's silence on the treatment of the Muslim minority, said the country learned of the death of Mr Heyit in prison, but reports of his death could not be independently verified.

Almost one million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities in China have reportedly been held in re-education camps, according to a United Nations panel of experts.

Wearing a black and white sweater over a collared shirt, he said he was in "good health" and has "never been abused", according to the subtitles. Large oil fields have been discovered in the Xinjiang region, described by Beijing as "an inseparable part of the unitary multi-ethnic Chinese nation".

Agence France-Presse was unable to immediately verify the authenticity of the video or when it was shot. The video released by China Radio International's Turkish-language service, said Turkey's criticism of China was unfounded.

Beijing at first denied any Xinjiang detention camps existed, but later admitted people were being sent to what it calls "vocational education centers".

But critics say China is seeking to assimilate Xinjiang's minority population and suppress religious and cultural practices that conflict with Communist ideology and the dominant Han culture.