China’s Covid-19 lockdown measures and notorious zero-Covid policies have caused difficulties across the country. The most severe impact was reported among the Uyghur population in the Xinjiang region.
According to reports, as many as 22 people starved to death in the region on one day last week. The deaths were reported from the city of Ghulja in northern Xinjiang, where tough Covid lockdown policies have been in place for months. Radio Free Asia reported. Apart from hunger, lack of medical care was also cited as a reason for the deaths.
The report said RFA Uyghur verified with city officials reports of deaths and starvation that appeared on social media. City officials and police in Ghulja confirmed that at least 22 deaths occurred in a single day on September 15.
The report says: “When asked how many people died of starvation in the city on Thursday last week, a municipal official in Ghulja told RFA “20” but declined to reveal more information about where the deaths occurred in the city. “There are 20 people. who starved to death. Don’t call again.” Another official from Ghulja’s Municipal Emergency Response Station gave RFA the figure of 22 dead, but declined to release more information. A third official, from the Police Command Center in the city of Ghulja, denied the social media accounts. that up to 100 died in one day, and put the toll at “about 21 and 22”.
Ghulja is a large city of half a million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims. Strict lockdown measures were imposed in the city in early August.
One of those who died was the president of a village in Ghulj. “They killed my husband Halmutar Ömerjan, the president of Kepekyuzi. No one answered my phone calls,” the man’s widow said, according to the report.
The woman said her husband was quarantined for seven days before being moved to an “unlivable” place and left alone there.
The Uighur problem
Of the nearly 10 million Uighur Muslims in the region, nearly two million are in various forms of imprisonment, most held in a vast network of internment camps where Muslims are forced to undergo cultural transformation.
China says native Turkic speakers in the Xinjiang region support terrorism and secessionism. Knife attacks by Uighur rebels have been a common feature in the past few years, until Beijing tightened its grip on the region after Xi Jinping became president.
In 2014, before the internment camps became a reality, China’s State Internet Information Office (SIIO) said Uighur rebels were spreading terrorist videos and pro-jihadist literature throughout the region. “Terrorist video and audio products have become a major instigator of the high incidence of terrorist activities today,” SIIO said.
Source : www.ibtimes.sg