Beijing: Members of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group are calling on China to post videos of their relatives who have disappeared into a vast system of internment camps.
The social media campaign, launched early Tuesday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, follows the release of a state media video showing famed Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who many believed had died in custody.
“China, show us their videos if they are alive!” Halmurat Harri, a Finland-based Uighur activist, wrote on Twitter. He urged the government to also release videos to prove that others believed detained are in good health amid reports of neglectful and sometimes brutal conditions in the “indoctrination camps.”
Beijing, which long denied the existence of such facilities, said they are vocational training centers where Uighurs, Kazakhs and others receive free skills education.
In a rare show of public criticism from a majority Muslim nation, Turkey Saturday called China’s treatment of Uighurs “a great cause of shame for humanity.” Citing reports of Heyit’s death, the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the “concentration camps” and “systematic assimilation” to which Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang were subjected to.
At a regular press briefing Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called Turkey’s statement “a very bad mistake.” Hua said the video of Heyit, released by the state outlet China Radio International, showed that claims of his death were an “absurd lie.”
She said the renowned musician and poet was being investigated for allegedly endangering national security. The authenticity of the video could not be verified and it was not clear where and by whom it had been filmed.