India keeps mum over China action against Muslims

India keeps mum over China action against Muslims

India has kept mum on the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in China, even as the communist country drew flak from the US and several other nations on the issue during a review at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

The Universal Periodic Review of China's human rights record at the UN HRC in Geneva this week saw as many as 13 nations strongly criticizing the government of the communist country over mass incarceration of about one million Uyghurs and other minority ethnic Muslims in internment camps at its Xinxiang Uyghur Autonoumous Region.

New Delhi, however, not only maintained silence on the issue but also lauded Beijing for its success in bringing down unemployment and alleviating poverty in China during the past five years since its human rights records had last come under review at the UNHRC.

Virender Paul, New Delhi's Deputy Permanent Representative to UN offices and other international organizations in Geneva, presented India's view during the UPR of China.

“India appreciates various measures undertaken by China in ensuring housing, public health services and other specific measures targeting women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities,” Paul said, presenting New Delhi's statement to the UNHRC.

India also commended the progress made by China in bringing socio-economic development, judicial reforms as well as in promoting human rights education.

New Delhi chose not to lend its voice to the clamour against Beijing at the international organization, ostensibly to make it sure that the efforts to mend India-China bilateral ties do not suffer a setback.

India's complex relations with China hit a new low last year over the 72-day long military face-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan. The two neighbouring nations however have been trying to bring back the relations on track since early this year – with a series of high-level engagements, including an “informal summit” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in China in April and two meetings on the sidelines of multilateral conclaves at Qingdao of the East Asian nation in June as well as at Johannesburg in South Africa in July. Modi and Xi are likely to meet again on the sideline of the G 20 summit at Buenos Aires in Argentina later this month.

The Universal Periodic Review or the UPR is a mechanism instituted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to review the human rights records of all the 193 nations, which are members of the international organization.

The UN HRC had conducted the first UPR for China in 2009 and the second in 2013.

The communist country underwent its third earlier this week with hundreds of Uyghur and Tibetan activists staging protests in Geneva, slamming Xi's Government in Beijing for persecution and violation of human rights of the ethnic minority communities.

Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, Germany and France too joined the United States in criticizing China at the UN HRC for mass detention of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng led the delegation from Beijing during the UPR of China at the UN HRC. He dismissed the criticism by the US and other nations, as the ones “driven by politics”.

Le, who was Beijing's envoy to India till 2016, defended establishment of “vocational education and training centers” at Xinjiang in China, stating that it was part of a “preventive counter-terrorism initiative” aimed at pre-empting radicalization of people.