China video shows blindfolded and shackled Uighur prisoners
Dozens of men wearing purple and yellow uniforms with tied hands, shaved heads, and blindfolds across their eyes leave a train, then appear sitting in rows in the station before being led away by police in what is believed to be a transfer of inmates.
The Guardian reports that a researcher with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's cyber policy centre, Nathan Ruser, verified the video using landmarks and the position of the sun. He concluded that it was shot at a train station west of Korla in south-east Xinjiang in August 2018. Other sources claim it could be from later in the year or from early 2019.
The footage is being checked by rights groups for its authenticity even as politicians and activists condemn China’s actions against the minority Muslim Uighur community.
"This video is deeply concerning," a spokesperson from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
"There is a growing body of evidence on the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang."
"Ministers and senior officials have raised our concerns directly with the Chinese authorities and the UK has consistently highlighted the issue at the UN Human Rights Council."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing’s detention of Muslims was an attempt "to erase" minority cultures and religions.
Australian Foreign Minister Marisa Payne responded to the video once Ruser published his findings on Twitter.
"I am aware of the deeply disturbing video that has been published online," she said, according to The Independent.
“I have previously raised Australia’s concerns about reports of mass detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim peoples in Xinjiang."
The Uighur community in northwestern China has faced an intense crackdown in recent years, with an estimated two million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities held in internment camps in Xinjiang province.
China initially denied the existence of these camps, but now claims that its detention centres are not concentration camps but "re-education camps" where "students" are trained to successfully reintegrate into Chinese society. It claims the camps are a necessary measure to counter Islamic extremism.
Human rights groups say that Uighurs and other Muslim minorities endure political indoctrination at these camps.
International recognition of the incarceration and human rights abuses has been sparse, especially from the governments of Muslim majority nations.
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