China, Turkey barbs on Uighur poet

Ankara had condemned Beijing’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uighur minority, calling it a ‘shame for humanity’.Turkey Urges China to End Mass Detention of Muslims: The rare rebuke of the Chinese crackdown by a majority-Muslim country came after reports that a prominent Uighur folk poet had died in custody.

Chinese officials  are accusing Turkey’s foreign ministry of peddling lies over the fate of a detained Uighur poet. They say Abdurehim Heyit is alive and well despite a claim to the contrary.

Turkey’s foreign ministry released a statement last Saturday announcing that Heyit has died. It highlighted the man’s case as part of a broad criticism of China’s treatment of the ethnic minority group. The statement described Beijing’s assimilation policy “a great shame for humanity.”

On Sunday, a Chinese state-run Turkish-language radio website showed what it maintained was same-day footage of the poet. In the video he says: “I’m in the process of being investigated for allegedly violating national laws. I’m now in good health and have never been abused.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying hit out at Turkey on Monday. “The Turkish side is extremely mistaken and irresponsible. It is making groundless accusations based on lies,” she said.

Human rights groups accuse China of unfairly detaining up to a million Uighurs. China’s government says it is providing “vocational training” for people influenced by extremism.

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