Pompeo urges Indonesians to oppose China's Uighur persecution

Pompeo urges Indonesians to oppose China's Uighur persecution
2 min read
31 October, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Indonesian Muslim groups not to be swayed by China on the Uighur issue.
Pompeo spoke at an Islamic event in Jakarta on Thursday [Getty]
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Indonesian Muslims to oppose China's persecution of its Uighur minority in Jakarta on Thursday.

Speaking at an event organised by the youth wing of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Pompeo raised the issue which has proven a thorny one for Muslim-majority states.

The Secretary of State described China's campaign against the Uighurs as a “war against the people of all faiths.”

“The atheist Chinese Communist Party has tried to convince the world that its [reeducation] program for Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang is necessary as a part of its counterterrorism efforts and poverty alleviation,” Pompeo said.

“But we know there is no justification for destroying a Muslim cemetery or taking children away from their parents,” he added, also pointing out that China is reportedly “forcing Uighur Muslims to eat pork during Ramadan".

During the speech, the top US diplomat also took a swipe at Beijing's attempts to sway Indonesian Muslim groups, including NU, through state-sponsored junkets to China.

 “I know that the Chinese Communist Party tried to convince Indonesians to look away from the torments. […] I know that these same CCP officials have spun fantastic tales of happy Uighurs eager to discard their ethnic religious and cultural identities to become more modern and enjoy the benefits of CCP-led development,” Pompeo said.

“When you hear these arguments, I'd just ask you to do this, search your hearts. Look at the facts. Listen to the tales of the survivors and of their families, think about what you know of how authoritarian governments treat those who resist its rule,” he added.

At least one million Muslims, most of them members of the Uighur ethnic minority, are thought to be held in detention camps and centres across Xinjiang.

Beijing is accused of subjecting the detainees to torture, indoctrination and forced labour, as well as forcibly sterilising Uighur women.

Beijing's crackdown on its Muslim minorities put many Muslim states reliant on trade deals with China in difficult positions, with many states facing criticism for their apparent silence over the abuses.

According to Indonesian security officials cited by the South China Morning Post, three Uighur men were deported to China by Indonesia just days before Pompeo's visit.

Human Rights Watch says the men are almost certain to face abuses on their return to China.

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