A new U.S.-supported exhibit in Switzerland seeks to highlight China’s treatment of the Uyghur population, an ethnic minority that the country’s communist government has subjected to human rights abuses, including reported internment and sterilization.
The display, which is named the “Wall of the Disappeared,” shows the names and faces of more than a dozen Uyghurs who are said to be missing or in internment camps in Xinjiang. According to Reuters, the display contains, “interviews with camp survivors about alleged forced sterilisation.”
The display, temporarily in Geneva, Switzerland, was funded by the U.S. through a grant.
“It was important for us to bring faces to represent the statistics,” said Zumretay Arkin, the nephew of one of the men shown in the display. “It’s easier to forget about numbers but if people see faces, we hope they will grasp the urgency of the situation.”
The exhibit follows a pattern of U.S. officials calling out China for human rights abuses in the region — something American officials have accused the Chinese regime of doing before. In May, sanctions were placed on China over its behavior.
“We are committed to placing human rights at the center of our China policy, and we will continue to highlight the grave human rights abuses we see the PRC committing across China, in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and elsewhere,” said a U.S. mission spokesperson, per Reuters.
Chinese officials have apparently said that conditions in Xinjiang were “pretty good,” and have disputed claims that there are massive human rights violations in the region, even though evidence suggests otherwise.
The official added, “The attempt of some forces to pursue their political agenda by slandering China are doomed to failure.” Earlier this week, another Chinese official accused the U.S. of “systemic racism.”
U.S. envoy Benjamin Moeling shot back, “There is a difference between countries that have confronted immoral acts in the past, and sought to improve, and countries that are committing crimes against humanity in the present.”
The World Uyghur Congress said that the “Wall of the Disappeared” will later be moved to Brussels, Belgium, and Berlin, Germany.
America is not alone in clashing with China over its treatment of the Uyghurs. In the past week, Britain and China went back and forth over sanctions.
The BBC reported that the British government banned China’s ambassador from an event at Parliament which he had previously been invited to before criticism from Conservative politicians who had been sanctioned by China.
Several British members of parliament and peers had sanctions slapped on them following the UK’s own implementation of sanctions against China for human rights violations. China’s ambassador, Zheng Zeguang, was set to attend a party with the all-party group on China before he was barred from attending after protest from the sanctioned British politicians.
“It is unthinkable therefore that parliamentarians should have to suffer this infringement on our liberties whilst the prime representative of the Chinese government in the UK is still apparently free to come to Westminster and to use facilities here as a mouthpiece for his regime,” they wrote to the speaker.
America and Britain have become increasingly united in their efforts to counter China and recognize its increasing influence and power throughout the globe.
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