Home News Police chief detained in China over concern for Uyghurs: report

Police chief detained in China over concern for Uyghurs: report

A police chief in China’s remote Xinjiang region has been detained after expressing concerns over the mass detention of fellow ethnic Uyghurs in his township, Radio Free Asia reported.

Himit Qari, the chief of Ucha township in Kuchar county, was detained after criticizing the detention policies during a gathering at a friend’s house earlier this year, RFA said in an Oct. 21 report.

According to a source from Kuchar, the police chief was summoned by the Kuchar County Public Security Bureau’s disciplinary office for questioning, taken to prison pending further investigation, and accused of “revealing state secrets.”  

Some one million Uyghurs and Muslims from other ethnic minorities have been placed in sprawling detention camps, according to rights groups and former Uyghur detainees. China says the camps provide vocational training and prevent against religious extremism. But diplomats and rights groups have called for unfettered access, amid fears about camp conditions and treatment of those inside.

This photo taken on May 31 shows watchtowers on a high-security facility near what is believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, on the outskirts of Hotan, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP)

The source, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity, said the police chief indicated during the party that “many people died” in a camp in Ucha, where he had been responsible for enforcing the internment policies. He did not provide details about the claims, the source said.

An officer at the Kuchar County Public Security Bureau told RFA that the police chief “was detained because he expressed sympathy towards detainees who died in the camp” but did not give further details.

The U.S. government has announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials suspected of involvement in the detentions, accusing Beijing of human rights abuses. Washington has also blacklisted 28 Chinese companies, government offices and security bureaus from buying U.S. products or importing American technology.

China has called the U.S. accusations “groundless and senseless.” 

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