VILNIUS - At least one million people are illegally imprisoned in China and are doing forced labor, Uyghur representative Rayhan Asat said during a discussion on the human rights situation in China, held at the Lithuanian Seimas on Thursday.
"At least one million people have been put into camps and still more illegally imprisoned in militarized jails, factories and schools. Every Uyghur family is suffering the same thing, their crimes against humanity. The world can stop this atrocity before more tight measures are taken by the Chinese state," the human rights lawyer said.
In her words, a lot of scientists, artists, minors, including her brother, are among people who have suffered from the Chinese regime. Her brother was a businessman, media specialist, a bright and young person. Such people like him are often deemed separatists, terrorists, extremists because they were born Uyghur, she said.
Asat says sanctions for Chinese officials are an effective measure. She urged politicians not to ignore the ongoing human rights violations in China for economic reasons to avoid souring relations with China.
"Today I ask you to stand out for human freedom and dignity, (...) consider continuously imposing sanctions on those responsible for Xinjiang," she said.
The discussion on the human rights violations was organized by the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. Its chairman Zygimantas Pavilionis says this parliament considers human rights violations a very important issue, irrespective of whether they are taking place in China, Belarus or Russia.
"This discussion today is especially important as the community of democratic countries is speaking up and taking action to stop China's action aimed at the Uyghur ethnic minority in Xinjiang," Pavilionis was quoted as saying in a statement released by the parliamentary press service.
"The international community of democratic countries is stepping up coordination of their actions aimed at defending human rights and democracy in the aforementioned Xinjiang and also supporting democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan," Pavilionis said.
Human rights advocates claim that at least 1 million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are being detained in so-called ‘re-education camps’ in China’s north-western Xinjiang.
Observers say such facilities are part of a government campaign to forcibly assimilate ethnic minorities, sometimes using torture and forced labor. Mass rapes and the forced sterilization of women are also alleged to have taken place in the camps.