France calls on China to end mass detentions in Xinjiang

A photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Centre, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in Xinjiang, China.
A photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Centre, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in Xinjiang, China.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France on Wednesday (Nov 27) called on China to end "mass arbitrary detentions" in Xinjiang, where around one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in camps that Beijing calls vocational schools.

"We call on China to put an end to mass arbitrary detentions," a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called on China to close the camps and allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang as soon as possible to report on the situation.

The extent and nature of the camps was revealed to the world in a huge leak of documents in mid-November by a member of the Chinese political establishment.

China initially denied the network of internment camps existed, but changed its position recently to say they are vocational schools that combat Islamist extremism through education and training.

Mr Le Drian said the government was paying "close attention to all the testimonies and documents reported by the press".