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- 17 Australians have reportedly been detained in China.
- The Guardian reports the Australians have been detained as part of China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims.
- The detained are thought to be under house arrest, in prison or detained in China’s secretive re-education centers in Xinjiang.
SYDNEY — Seventeen Australians have reportedly been detained in China as the country continues to crackdown on its Muslim ethnic minority, the Uighurs.
The Guardian reports that the Australians were detained while visiting relatives in China, and are now believed to be under house arrest, in prison or detained in China’s secretive re-education centers in Xinjiang.
Based on information from Uighur advocates in Australia, the report claims 15 of the Australians involved are permanent residents, while the two others are on spousal visas.
In what has become an increasing concern for the international community, Beijing is accused of interning up to a million Uighurs in prison-like detention camps, forcing them to renounce their religion and native language, and even pushing them into forced labour with little to no pay.
Beijing has justified the crackdown as a counterterrorism measure, and calls the internment camps “free vocational training.”
The Guardian reports the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was made aware of a number of similar cases last year, but only one Australian has returned as a result.
Nurgul Sawut, an advocate for Uighurs in Australia said, "Our community members feel let down."
“The language [the department] is using is very dire. The Australian government is basically saying we can’t do anything right now.”
Business Insider has contacted the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment.
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Source: Business Insider