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The Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl has today written to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK urging the Chinese Government to release the Uyghur people and other minorities from all ethnic and religious oppression. In the letter, Ms van der Zyl said: “nobody could fail to notice the similarities between what is alleged to be happening in the People’s Republic of China today and what happened in Nazi Germany 75 years ago”.
She called for “immediate action” as China faces fresh allegations of the existence of concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in the country after drone footage came to light last week.
Terrifying footage of shackled and blindfolded individuals has emerged from China, providing more evidence of human rights abuses by the country.
During an interview with BBC’s Andrew Marr, the Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming denied any wrongdoing on behalf of the Chinese state when he was quizzed over fresh footage clearly showing hundreds of prisoners.
But Ms der Zyl told Mr Xiaoming the “world is watching” and China had a “choice between great glory and eternal shame”.
She wrote: “Nobody could watch the segment of the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on which you appeared yesterday and fail to notice the similarities between what is alleged to be happening in the People’s Republic of China today and what happened in Nazi Germany 75 years ago.
“People being forcibly loaded onto trains; beards of religious men being trimmed; women being sterilised; and the grim spectre of concentration camps.
“Mr Ambassador, we urge China today to release the Uyghur people and other minorities from all ethnic and religious oppression; throw open the doors of the camps to a full and impartial international investigation; take action against the perpetrators of any human rights abuses; and ensure justice for the victims and their families.
“This must begin immediately. The world is watching.
“The hand of history is poised. For its future, China has a choice between great glory and eternal shame. Let it choose the former.”
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China is estimated to have detained hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other minorities in camps in an alleged bid to offer them voluntary reeducation and training.
But last week social media footage appeared to show hundreds of Uyghurs being bussed from the Xinjiang region to serve as forced labour across mainland China.
Shown the pictures during an interview by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Mr Xiaoming said: “I do not know where you get this videotape.”
He added: “Sometimes you have a transfer of prisoners, in any country.”
“Uighur people enjoy peaceful, harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups of people. We treat every ethnic group as equal.
“There’s no, so-called, pervasive, massive, forced sterilisation among Uighur women in China.”
But he conceded: “I cannot rule out single cases. For any country, there are single cases.”
Human rights groups and western Governments have catalogued systematic attacks on the Muslim Uighur minority in China’s western region, including mass forced sterilisation and detainment in “re-education” camps.
The video was first posted online last year and reemerged recently following fresh allegations of human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing practices.
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