As Countries Seek Trade With China, Imprisoned Uyghur Community Has Become “Collateral Damage ”

Published on May 7, 2019
China’s top trade negotiator is traveling to Washington this week as tension over trade intensifies between the two nations. President Trump is threatening to impose a 25 percent tariff on nearly all Chinese imports after the U.S. accused China of backtracking on trade commitments. Talks are expected to resume on Thursday, but the Trump administration is facing criticism for refusing to address China’s human rights record as part of the negotiations. The United Nations and a number of human rights groups have accused the Chinese government of setting up massive camps in the far-west Xinjiang province to hold an unknown number of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims. Estimates of the population of the camps range from hundreds of thousands to more than a million. China says the camps have been built as re-education and training centers and are needed to combat extremism in the region. The New York Times reports the Trump administration has shelved proposed targeted sanctions over the mass detentions out of fear it could derail a potential trade deal. Last week, Human Rights Watch revealed new details about how China is carrying out mass surveillance in Xinjiang in part thanks to a mobile app that lets authorities monitor the Muslim population. We speak with Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson and Rushan Abbas, a Uyghur-American activist and founder of Campaign for Uyghurs.

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