Photo: Urumchi, By Miradil / Pixabay
By Anne Kader
On Monday, January 8th, the Chinese government hosted 30 representatives of 14 Muslim nations in Urumchi, a city in the Northern part of occupied East Turkistan. The delegation of The World Muslim Communities Council, headed by Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi (TWMCC Chairman of the Council) included Egypt, The United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Bahrain, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Potemkin-style setting was to fool the guest countries to side with Beijing's narrative that the government is simply fighting "extremism and terrorism" in the homeland of the Uyghurs, the claim that Uyghurs in exile vehemently reject. The Chinese effort is to win the public opinion of its trade partners in the Middle East and other Muslim countries under Xi Jinping's landmark Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Urumchi visit included a tour of the "Museum of Combating Terrorism and Extremism in Xinjiang" and a staged visit to the city market. The CCP "guardians" took care that the guests could not engage in genuine, in-depth conversations with the public.
The visit of the Muslim delegation comes ten days after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu leveled rare criticism against China for its treatment of Uyghurs and promised that under his watch, Turkiye would not deport a single Uyghur to China. The genuineness of his vow will be tested, as Turkiye - due to its strong business ties with China - is becoming alarmingly vulnerable to Beijing's leverage. Uyghurs have become increasingly isolated in the global judicial bodies and the Muslim world.