15 Western ambassadors raise concerns about Xinjiang in letter

Politics & Current Affairs

A significant development in the international response to the situation in Xinjiang:

  • A group of 15 foreign ambassadors in China, all from Europe other than the ambassadors of Australia and Canada, signed on to a letter primarily drafted by Canada raising concerns about Xinjiang, Reuters reports.
  • “We are deeply troubled by reports of the treatment of ethnic minorities, in particular individuals of Uyghur ethnicity, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In order to better understand the situation, we request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these concerns,” the draft of the letter seen by Reuters reads. The letter is addressed to Chén Quánguó 陈全国, the top Communist Party official in Xinjiang.
  • Strangely absent from the list of signatories is the American ambassador, although the U.S. embassy gave this response to Reuters: “We remain alarmed that since April 2017 the Chinese government has detained an estimated 800,000 to possibly more than 2 million Uighurs, Kazaks and other Muslims in internment camps for political re-education.”
  • The “800,000 to possibly more than 2 million” is a novel estimate, and “look like internal numbers” that the U.S. government has calculated, scholar of Xinjiang Rian Thum notes.

Other recent developments relating to Xinjiang: