China releases video it says proves reports of Uighur poet's death untrue

China releases video it says proves reports of Uighur poet's death untrue

"China has already made solemn representations toward Turkey".

A day after Turkey slammed China's alleged mistreatment of its Muslim minority population of Uighurs in the Xinjian province, Beijing has refuted the charges along with calling for Ankara to withdraw its statements.

"I saw his video online yesterday, showing that he is not only alive but also very healthy", Hua said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday called on China to close its detention centres for Muslims, saying the camps said to hold almost a million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-language speaking minorities are a "great shame for humanity".

Turkey had said China's treatment of Uighurs was "a great embarrassment for humanity" - perhaps the strongest condemnation yet from a Muslim country.

"For too long Uighurs and other Muslims have suffered gross repression at the hands of Chinese authorities", said Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uighur Congress.

The plight of China's Uighurs is closely followed in Turkey due to shared linguistic, cultural and religious links and the presence of tens of thousands of ethnic Uighurs there.

"This tragedy has further reinforced the reaction of the Turkish public opinion toward serious human rights violations committed in the Xinjiang region", Aksoy said. The video released by China Radio International's Turkish-language service, said Turkey's criticism of China was unfounded.

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Patrick Poon, a China researcher with Amnesty International, told the ABC that it was "really freaky to see Abdurehim Heyit's video after hearing various sources about his death".

In the 25-second video a man identified as Heyit introduces himself and the date as February 10.

"I'm now in good health and have never been abused", he said.

The authenticity of the video has not been independently confirmed.

"It is an indisputable fact that the Chinese Government attaches great importance to safeguarding basic rights of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang", the spokesperson said.
Surveillance cameras, security checkpoints and riot police have become ubiquitous in Xinjiang in recent years, but the government maintains that such measures are necessary to combat separatist violence and latent religious extremism.

China denied the existence of the so-called "de-radicalisation" facilities for months before saying they were, in fact, vocational training centres created to combat extremism.

But a spokesman from China's embassy in Turkey said the idea China was violating human rights was "totally inconsistent with the facts and are totally unacceptable to China".

"It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uyghur Turks, exposed to arbitrary arrests, are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centers and prisons", said Hami Aksoy, spokesman of the ministry.

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