Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has defended China’s use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing’s “right”.
Prince Mohammed, who has been traveling Asia signing multi-million dollar trade deals, was quoted as saying “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security.”
The United Nations (UN) have estimated that at least one million Uiyghur Muslims have been forcibly detained in detention centres where they are undergoing re-education programmes, which Amnesty International has compared to “wartime concentration camps”.
The programme was created to ‘combat extremism’ but has since been criticized by humans rights organisations.
The Uighur, which is the ethnic group which is the target of the programme, are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in Western China and parts of Central Asia.
China has accused the minority of supporting terrorism and implemented a surveillance regime on them.
An appeal had been made by the Uighur groups to Saudi’s powerful young prince and other Muslim leaders to help their cause but many Muslim leaders have decided not to get involved in the issue as China has become an important trading partner with the Middle East.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, became the first to condemn China, describing the treatment of the minority Muslim group as “a great cause of shame for humanity” last month and asking it to close the “concentration camps”.
Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, where Prince Salman has just visited, said he “did not know” much about the conditions of the Uighurs.
Xi Jinping, China’s leader, told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”.