SHAFAQNA- Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday that China has dramatically increased its prosecution of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. More than 250,000 people in the north-western region have been formally sentenced and imprisoned since 2016, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). The criminal convictions are in addition to the detention of an estimated one million Uighurs and other mainly Muslim minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang province.
“Despite the veneer of legality, many of those in Xinjiang’s prisons are ordinary people who were convicted for going about their lives and practicing their religion,” HRW researcher Maya Wang said in a statement. HRW said criminal sentences in the region had spiked between 2017 and 2019 during a crackdown on Uighurs and other mainly Muslim minorities.
Xinjiang courts sentenced nearly 100,000 people in 2017, up from less than 40,000 in 2016, the organisation said, citing government data. Sentences were handed out for activities including “telling others ‘what is Haram and Halal’ ” and bringing gifts to relatives in Turkey, HRW said, noting prison terms have also grown longer, AlJazeera reported.