Other news first:
“No big deal, the victim was not a virgin”
Two suspects who were charged with raping and killing a young female co-worker in the Turkish capital have sparked national outrage with their defense speech before a court in which they said the victim was not a virgin.
Two male business partners, Çağatay Aksu and Berk Akand (below), had been indicted by a prosecutor for sexually assaulting and then murdering 23-year-old university student ŞuleÇet by throwing her out of the window of a tower in Ankara in the early hours of May 29, 2018.
The suspects, who appeared before the judge in the first trial at the 31st Heavy Penal Court in Ankara on Feb. 6, said they were innocent.
Muslims in China are forced to ‘eat pork and drink alcohol’ at Lunar New Year dinners and are threatened with imprisonment in re-education camps if they refuse to take part
Beautiful. Reeducation is happening!
- Officials in Xinjiang are said to be distributing raw pork to Muslim households
- Residents were invited to Lunar New Year dinners where pork, alcohol are served
- They were told they could be sent to re-education camps if they did not take part
Residents in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture said they were invited to Chinese New Year dinners where pork and alcohol were served. Chinese officials threatened to send them to ‘re-education camps’ if they refused to participate, according to a report by Radio Free Asia.
Photos sent to RFA also showed a Chinese official in Yining city visiting Muslim households and distributing raw pork on Monday, the eve of the Year of the Pig. People were also forced to display Chinese New Year decorations such as red lanterns and couplets outside their homes.
Uighur vendors trade Halal meat to costumers in the Tianshan District of Urumqi, capital of north-west China’s Xinjiang region. Residents in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture said they were invited to Chinese New Year dinners where pork and alcohol were served
A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang in China’s far west region
Residents walk through a security checkpoint into the Hotan Bazaar where a screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hotan in western China’s Xinjiang region
Both pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam, and Chinese New Year is not usually celebrated by Muslims.
‘Kazakh people in Xinjiang have never [eaten pork],’ one unnamed resident told RFA. ‘Starting last year, some people have been forced to eat pork so they can celebrate a festival belonging to the Han Chinese.’
‘Kazakhs don’t celebrate Spring Festival,’ a Kazakh woman named Kesay told RFA. ‘Our main festivals are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Spring Festival is for Han Chinese and people who believe in Buddhism.’
‘If we won’t put up the couplets or hang up lanterns, they say we are two-faced, and they send us to re-education camps,’ she said, adding that officials had begun delivering pork to around 80 per cent of Kazakh households in Savan county since the end of 2018.
A building of what is officially called a vocational skills education centre in Hotan, Xinjiang
Passengers ride a donkey cart at the venue for a Chinese Lunar New Year shopping festival in Lopnur county, Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exile group World Uighur Congress, said they have received similar reports.
‘According to our information, the Chinese government is stepping up its campaign to assimilate Uighurs into Han Chinese culture,’ he said. ‘They are forcing Uighurs to celebrate Lunar New Year, to put up decorative couplets.’
‘They are also forcing Uighurs to drink alcohol, to show that they don’t subscribe to “extreme religious beliefs” and don’t disrespect traditional Chinese culture.’
Up to one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to be held in extra-legal detention in Xinjiang, according to previous UN estimates, prompting an international outcry. The region is home to more than 10 million ethnic Uighurs.
Detainees who most vigorously criticise the people and things they love are rewarded, and those who refuse to do so are punished with solitary confinement, beatings and food deprivation.
Residents walk past a statue showing Mao Zedong near billboards with the words for ‘Welcome 19th Congress,’ ‘Patriotism’ and ‘Democracy’ near a square in Kashgar in Xinjiang
Dozens of students are shown at their desks learning Chinese and law in the programme aired by CCTV that introduced the ‘professional vocational training institutions’ in Hotan
Former detainees have previously claimed they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol as punishment inside the camps.
While Beijing initially denied the existence of re-education camps, the chairman of Xinjiang’s government, Shohrat Zakir, told the official Xinhua news agency in October that the facilities are an effective tool to protect the country from terrorism and provide vocational training for Uighurs.
A previous report published by a Christian NGO, ChinaAid, claimed that Muslims in Xinjiang had been forced to take part in new year celebrations in February last year.
Last October, officials in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang launched a campaign against halal products.
Radical Muslim Uighurs have killed hundreds in recent years, and China considers the region a threat to peace in a country where the majority is Han Chinese.
The entrance to a jail which locals say is used to hold those undergoing political indoctrination program in Korla in western China’s Xinjiang region
Security cameras are installed at the entrance to the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang