China dismisses Turkey criticism of 'brainwashing' Uighur Muslims

People protest against the treatment of Uighur Muslims by the Chinese government in Bandung Indonesia

"We invite Chinese authorities to respect fundamental human rights of the Uighur Turks and shut down concentration camps".

China Radio International's Turkish language service released a 26-second video online late Sunday, showing a man said to be Abdurehim Heyit stating that he was in "good health".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a briefing in Beijing that the video proved Heyit was alive.

In the statement, Aksoy mentioned the alleged death of 57-year-old Abdurehim Heyit, a well-known Uighur singer and poet.

Turkey said the Uyghurs faced pressure and "systematic assimilation" in western China.

Turks held small protests in cities nationwide to condemn China's human rights violations against Uighurs, Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Sunday.

Aksoy's remarks were referring to widespread reports of China's mass incarceration of its Muslim Uighur minority, most of who live in the north-western province of Xinjiang.

In a statement on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said it's "no longer a secret" that China has detained more than 1 million Uighurs in "concentration camps".

China has hit back at claims by Turkey over its treatment of Uighur people and denied reports a prominent poet and musician from the ethnic Muslim minority was tortured to death in prison.

However, within 24 hours of Turkey making this statement China has released a video which purportedly shows Heyit alive. Mr Heyit was thought to be serving an eight-year sentence in the Xinjiang region, where up to one million Uighur Muslims are being detained. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

Their language is close to Turkish and a significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

At the start of the video, Heyit states his name and gives the date as February 10, 2019.

Compared to China's ethnically homogenous Han majority, Uyghurs are an ethnic group of Turkic origins who have been slowly outnumbered since widescale Han migration to Xinjiang began after 1949.

In January, Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the Xinjiang regional government and an Uyghur himself, stated that the United Nation's estimate of one million people was a "rumour" and that the facilities were temporary vocational training and educational facilities that had proven to be "extremely effective" in reducing extremism, teaching residents about the law and helping them learn Mandarin.

"The Chinese Foreign Ministry's response to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the allegations are outrageous, we have an official initiative", the tweet read.



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