China charging Uighurs with “looking for an argument”

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Uighurs in China’s mostly Muslim Xinjiang province are receiving long prison terms for charges like “looking for an argument,” according to Human Rights Watch, with is claiming the legal attitude amounts to systematic persecution.

Claiming a ned to impose quick and severe sentences in the name of counter-terrorism, Chinese police and prosecutors are arresting and sentencing people who have not committed any real offense, according to the human rights organization. “Despite appearances of legality, many of the people in Xinjiang prisons are ordinary people who have been sentenced for going about their lives and practicing their religion,” said HRW Researcher Maya Wang in a statement.

More than 250,000 people in the northwestern region have been formally imprisoned since 2016, reported HRW, adding it has noted a dramatic increase in the lengths of prison sentences. Since 2017 the number of sentences for 5 years or more has risen from 11% to 87%. There are also an estimated one million Uighurs in “political education” camps in Xinjiang, according to HRW.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Months of uncertainty end in deportation to China for Uighurs in Thailand

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After months held in Thai immigration detention centers, over 100 Uighurs have been deported to China, despite protests from the United Nations and the Uighurs themselves, who fear punishment in China.

“Thailand and Turkey are not rivals and we do not want to destroy trade and commerce with Turkey,” said Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Bangkok Friday. “At the same time, we do not want to destroy the relationship between China and Thailand.”

Without public notice, last month the Thai government sent 172 Uighurs to Turkey from the holding camps where they had been provided for in Thailand.

This week they sent 109 Uighurs to China, reporting this deportation July 9.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commented on the move, saying it was “shocked by this deportation of some 100 people and consider it a flagrant violation of international law.”

Many of the deported Uighurs have been accused of terrorism by Chinese officials. China’s Foreign Ministry said those Uighurs suspected of “committing serious crimes” would be brought to justice, while others would be dealt with in “proper ways.”

Read more: China Executed Three times More People Last Year Than Rest of the World Combined – Report

Thai authorities have come under fire for washing their hands of the matter.

“If we send them back and there is a problem, it is not our fault,” said Prayuth Thursday.

Protests have erupted in Thailand and Turkey, including vandalism against the Thai consulate in Istanbul.

Over 60 Uighurs remain in Thai custody awaiting deportation. The Thai government is processing their paperwork to be sure of their citizenship status before moving them.

By James Haleavy