A British Jewish leader has urged China to “immediately” free hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims from vast camps in Xinjiang, saying “nobody could fail to notice the similarities” with the Holocaust.
Addressing China’s Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl called for the release of the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities “from all ethnic and religious oppression”.
China has come under increasing pressure over its network of 1,200 indoctrination camps and system of mass surveillance in its western province, but Xiaoming defended the Chinese state on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 19, 2020
“Nobody could watch [the show] 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,” said van der Zyl.
“People being forcibly loaded onto trains, beards of religious men being trimmed, women being sterilised, and the grim spectre of concentration camps.”
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) July 20, 2020
Van der Zyl said China should immediately release all those being held because of their religion or ethnicity and “throw open the doors of the camps to a full and impartial international investigation”.
She added: “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.”
It follows revelations earlier this month that China is covertly selling hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of human hair, in the form of weaves and other products, that is believed to have been forcibly taken from Uyghur detainees.
Senior MP Alistair Carmichael told Jewish News that the reports had “many distressing echoes” for those who know the history of the Holocaust.