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mr-absentia

NYT: China Wants the World to Stay Silent on Muslim Camps. It’s Succeeding.

«The private account by the Malaysian diplomat, reviewed by The New York Times, contradicted China’s contention that the Uighurs were voluntarily attending the re-education centers.

“Delegates could actually sense fear and frustration from the students,” the Malaysian wrote after his December visit with a dozen other diplomats from mostly Muslim nations. “China may have legitimate reasons to implement policies intended to eliminate the threat of terrorism, especially in Xinjiang. However, judging by its approach, it is addressing the issue wrongly and illegitimately, e.g. preventing Muslim minors from learning the Quran.”

The diplomat referred to two cities in Xinjiang — once-bustling Kashgar and Hotan — as “zombie towns,” saying the streets were virtually empty and that China was probably “using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to ‘sanitize’ Uighur Muslims until they become acceptable Chinese citizens.”

The report was never made public. At the time, Malaysia was working hard to repair relations with China over a troubled infrastructure deal. It has also become increasingly dependent on China for purchases of palm oil, its biggest export.

“The $100 billion in annual bilateral trade is enough to focus the minds of Malaysian policymakers,” said Shahriman Lockman, a senior analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur. “China is too big a market to lose.”»

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