The European Parliament (EP) Thursday expressed serious concern about China’s repression of the Uyghurs and called on the Chinese government to close the “re-education camps” in Xinjiang immediately.

In a resolution adopted by show of hands, the EP strongly condemned that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs are being sent to political “re-education camps” and urged the Chinese government to immediately end the practice of arbitrary detentions without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence and to immediately and unconditionally release all detained persons.

It calls on the European Union (EU) to adopt targeted sanctions and freeze assets, if deemed appropriate and effective, against the Chinese officials responsible for severe repression of basic rights in Xinjiang.

There is solid information that Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang province are subject to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and extensive digitized surveillance, says the resolution. It calls on the Chinese authorities to give independent journalists and international observers free access to Xinjiang province to examine the situation on the ground.

The EP also expresses deep concern regarding reports about Uyghurs abroad being harassed by the Chinese authorities in order to compel them to inform against other Uyghurs, return to Xinjiang or remain silent about the situation there, sometimes by detaining their family members. The EP calls on the EU to raise the issue of human rights violation in China at every political and human rights dialogue with the Chinese authorities.

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