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'I have never been abused' says detained Uighur Abdurehim Heyit
12 February 2019, 08:31 | Devin Moran
Uighur musician 'tortured to death in China camp', campaigners claim
"They are disgusting. We have lodged a representation with Turkey over this matter", Hua Chunying said at a briefing.
China described the comments as "completely unacceptable".
According to global human rights organisations, Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities were being detained in camps on frivolous charges like refusing to give a DNA samples, using minority language or arguing with government officials.
Worldwide rights groups say China routinely coerces detainees into making videotaped confessions which are then broadcast through state media to serve the government's propaganda objectives.
ISTANBUL-Turkey called on China to close its internment camps for Muslims, saying the camps, which reportedly hold a million ethnic Uyghur people, are a "great shame for humanity".
"The systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities towards Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity", Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
He also said the reports of Heyit's death "further strengthened the Turkish public's reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang" and called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "to take effective steps to end the human tragedy" there.
"Uighurs who are not detained in these camps are under heavy pressure".
China's embassy in Ankara said Aksoy's concerns were unfounded and called on the Turkish government to withdraw the statement.
"China has already made solemn representations toward Turkey. We are opposed to maintaining double standards on the question of fighting terrorism", said the statement, attributed to an embassy spokesperson.
"The Chinese Foreign Ministry's response to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the allegations are outrageous, we have an official initiative", the tweet read.
Beijing says the "vocational education centres" help people stay clear of terrorism and allow them to be reintegrated into society.
Chinese Kazakhs have also fled overseas to avoid arbitrary detention, and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Monday said it was following the case of a one such man who had been fighting attempts by Beijing to return him to China from neighboring Uzbekistan. Reports of his death surfaced Saturday.
Mr Heyit was a master of the dutar, a type of two-stringed instrument with a long neck that is found in Iran and throughout Central Asia. At one time, he was venerated across China.
Academic Elise Anderson, who studies Uyghur music, noted on Twitter that "his skin is pale and sickly looking". Turkey depends on Chinese financing for major infrastructure projects, while China sees Turkey as an important link in its gargantuan Belt and Road project to expand its economic reach overseas. They mainly reside in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China.
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