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World News

'Pray for a change of strategy' as UN says China may have committed crimes against humanity in Xinjiang

by Alex Collett

Christian charity Open Doors is asking for people to pray for China as the UN human rights chief has accepts China's "arbitrary and discriminatory detention" of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has faced criticism from some diplomats and rights groups for being too soft on China, released a long-awaited report on Wednesday 31st August ,just minutes before her four-year term ended. 

China has vigorously denied any abuses in Xinjiang and issued a 131-page response to the 48-page UN report.

The UN Human Rights Office said in the report that serious human rights violations have been committed" in Xinjiang "in the context of the government's application of counter-terrorism and counter-'extremism' strategies."

Dr Dave Landrum, head of advocacy at religious freedom charity Open Doors told Premier, the report was long overdue: "The report by Michelle Bachelet has been long awaited, it was actually ready to be published a year ago, but the Chinese government have done everything in their power to try and block it and obfuscated and threatened the UN in various ways. 

"It cites crimes against humanity against the Chinese Communist Party and provides credible evidence of crimes, repeated systems of arbitrary detention, sexual violence, forced medical treatment, rape, murder, torture, organ harvesting, forced sterilizations, and abortions.

"All of this taken place in concentration camps for the Chinese called education camps, but around 1.8 million people."

It recommended the Chinese government take prompt steps to release all those detained in training centres, prisons or detention facilities. 

The office said: "There are credible indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies since 2017."

It added that a lack of government data "makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the full extent of current enforcement of these policies and associated violations of reproductive rights."   

Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority that numbers around 10 million in the western region of Xinjiang. Accusations include the mass use of forced labour in internment camps. The United States has accused China of genocide.    

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the report as "completely illegal and void."

Dr Landrum said that prayer is much needed for the country right now in the wake of these findings, he said: "Pray for a change of strategy in China. I mean, the Chinese Communist Party is trying to suppress and subvert Christianity in China at this moment in time. 

"We need to pray for that to be shifted, pray for the churches that they might stand strong through the storm of persecution at this moment in time. 

"It's very difficult for Christians in China right now, pray for strength. That's what we need to pray for."

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