The prime minister of Pakistan says Beijing’s financial support is too crucial for him to criticize China’s genocide of Muslim Uyghurs.
Speaking to “Axios on HBO” in an interview that aired Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan went so far as to repeat China’s denials of what is essentially a Holocaust happening in the Xinjiang province before explaining why he refused to cause problems with Beijing.
“Whatever issues we have with the Chinese, we speak to them behind closed doors,” Khan began, appearing to imply that his country had taken up the issue with Beijing.
Still, Khan said, Beijing provided Islamabad with too critical of an alliance to challenge.
“China has been one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times. When we were really struggling, when our economy was struggling, China came to our rescue,” he continued, noting that as a result of such financial assistance, “[W]e respect the way they are.”
Khan then turned his attention to the unrest in Kashmir, the region bordering India and Pakistan, saying the bloodshed did not matter to the West and was a “much more relevant” conflict to him.
Asked if it made him feel sick that he had to look the other way on China’s human rights atrocities for the continued financial support, Khan appeared unbothered given the many acts of violence.
“I look around the world, what’s happening in Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan. Am I going to start talking about everything? I concentrate on what is happening on my border,” the prime minister said, not recognizing that the concentration camps in question were fairly close to his borders on the northwest side.
China, a nation that has faced a wave of international scrutiny over the past few years relating to its activities in dismantling democracy in Hong Kong and its refusal to accept responsibility for negligence and a lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, has not let global tensions stop its mass internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
Xinjiang is a province in the Communist country where an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained since 2016.
These ethnic minorities are held in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language and physically abused.
Chinese Communist Party officials, however, have long suspected Uyghurs of harboring separatist tendencies because they have their own culture, language and religion.
Many officials have used such a rationale when defending their overall treatment of Uyghurs in interviews and other state-media appearances.
The behavior they are justifying, as shown in a BBC News exposé released in February of this year, includes systemic torture and rape in Uyghur concentration camps.
Following the release of the BBC report, China banned the outlet in its territory.