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Gulf States Agree to Upgrade Ties with Beijing even as it Carries out Genocide against Uighurs

Jan 15, 2022

Staff Writer

Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, on Friday indicated support from GCC states, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait for Beijing’s positions on Taiwan, the treatment of the Uighurs and human rights. This is as the GCC sought to upgrade ties with China, and included the conclusion of a possible free trade agreement between the two.

Wenbin also alluded to Gulf support for the winter Olympics, to be held in China, and against the politicization of sport. GCC states have since issued no denial, indicating that they concur with Wenbin’s categorization of the meeting and its outcomes.

China has imprisoned over a million Uighurs in recent years, with accusations including forced sterilization, rape, and torture. Further, Muslims in China face difficulties practicing their religion, which is explicitly criticized and shunned in the country. Thousands of Masajid have been destroyed, especially in the Uighur populated region of Xinjiang.

Gulf states regularly respond to criticisms of their own domestic human rights violations by citing politicization and arguing that they relate to internal affairs. Further, they regularly arrest and torture human rights defenders under the guise of cohesion and stability.

Recent weeks have seen Saudi Arabia accused of seeking to deport to Uighur activists and scholars, who would face imprisonment and the death sentence in China. Riyadh also deported 5 Uighur activists back to China in recent years.

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