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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Abbas Abruptly Ends China Trip After Supporting Crackdown on Muslim Minorities

BEIJING — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas concluded his visit to China on Friday, where he sought economic assistance and expressed solidarity with Beijing’s approach towards Muslim communities in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China known for its repressive policies.

Throughout his four-day trip, Abbas held meetings with Chinese President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. The leaders issued a joint statement, affirming their support for China’s domestic and international policies while rejecting Western notions of human rights.

In the statement, the Palestinian Authority said issues regarding China’s policy toward Muslims in Xinjiang have “nothing to do with human rights and are aimed at excising extremism and opposing terrorism and separatism.”

“Palestine resolutely opposes using the Xinjiang problem as a way of interfering in China’s internal affairs,” the joint statement said.

That reflects the Chinese government’s narrative regarding the detention of more than one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in highly secured facilities without proper legal justification. Many individuals have been subjected to these prison-like detention centers for reasons as trivial as having a family member studying abroad or possessing religious materials on their electronic devices.

China maintains that these centers were established to promote patriotism, counter internet-based radicalism, and provide vocational training, asserting that many of them have now been closed. However, critics argue that these facilities have essentially transformed into prisons.

China has vehemently defended its actions and launched extensive efforts to counter external criticisms. In the pursuit of resources and economic opportunities, Arab nations have rarely voiced concerns about Beijing’s treatment of Muslim populations.

Muslims constitute approximately 2% of China’s population, with the country being governed by an officially atheist party primarily comprised of the Han ethnic majority.

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