Chinese embassy official in Pakistan in 'belly dancer' scandal

Chinese embassy official in Pakistan tweets video of scantily-clad 'Uighur woman' belly dancer
2 min read
09 March, 2021
Zhang Heqing - China's cultural counsellor at Beijing's embassy in Pakistan - captioned the post: 'Off your hijab, let me see your eyes. #Xinjiang dance.'
The tweet, since deleted, generated significant controversy among Pakistani social media users [Twitter]

An official at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan has sparked outrage in the Muslim-majority country after tweeting a video of a scantily-clad woman with the caption "Off your hijab, let me see your eyes. #Xinjiang dance".

It is not exactly clear what Zhang Heqing, who is Beijing's cultural counsellor at the Chinese embassy, had meant by the post.

Some Twitter users interpreted it as an attempt to show an 'unveiled' Uighur woman belly-dancing

As many as 2 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are held in detention camps in China's northwest province in Xinjiang.

Beijing describes these as re-education camps designed to lure Muslim minorities aware from extremism and separatism but others describe it as a genocide.

Several reports have accused Chinese authorities of carrying out major rights abuses against Uighur women in particular, with systemic rape, sexual abuse and forms of forced birth control including sterilisation.

Read also: Holocaust survivors urge UK to stand up for Uighurs ahead of Genocide Bill vote

The post by the Chinese official was soon deleted after generating a backlash in Pakistan.

Twitter users in the conservative South Asian country accused Heqing of "insulting" Islam, demanding an apology from the Chinese official.

"As a muslim and Pakistani I found these words so offensive, Hijab is a sacred thing for us," said one user.

Another user suggested the "Islamophobic statement" could harm relations between Islamabad and Beijing.


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