Beijing says an association of several oil-rich Arab monarchies has dismissed the Chinese government’s controversial treatment of Uighur Muslims as an “internal matter”.
During a meeting with Chinese Communist Party officials in China this week, Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Nayef Falah al-Hajraf expressed strong support for China’s “legitimate positions on Taiwan, Xinjiang and human rights-related issues”, according to Chinese foreign countries. Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday.
Al-Hajraf did not speak directly to reporters, but a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said he supported the position that human rights issues should not be politicized and “expressed opposition to interference in China’s internal affairs”. “
Headquartered in Riyadh, the GCC is made up of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Al-Hajraf’s visit to China aims to enhance economic and security ties between GCC members and Beijing Saudi Gazette Reported.
The Chinese government has been widely criticized for its repressive treatment of Uighur Muslims in the autonomous Xinjiang region in northwest China, which the United States has dubbed a genocide.
“The Chinese government has committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity against the Turkic Muslim population,” Human Rights Watch said in a recent report. “In Xinjiang, Ottoman Muslims are arbitrarily detained based on their identity, while others are subjected to forced labor, mass surveillance, and political preaching.”
When they face allegations of human rights abuses, GCC member monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates often use the same “internal affairs” justification as China. Human rights groups criticize Gulf Arab states for using widely worded and vague anti-terrorism laws to prosecute activists accused of undermining stability and national unity.
The world’s two largest economies, the US and China, are fiercely competing for greater influence in the Middle East for oil, gas and strategic interests.
Analysts say that in addition to improving trade and economic ties, China has promised support for the GCC monarchy in settling disputes and conflicts in the Middle East.
“China is slowly but steadily moving into the Middle East as a powerful and strategic actor,” Nicolas Heras, senior analyst at the Newlines Institute, told VOA’s Mandarin Service.
According to Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, Beijing has changed its laid-back approach to the sector and is now vigorously promoting its own interests.
“That said, the Gulf is not like the rest of the world. They would welcome a partnership with China, but they would not welcome Chinese dominance,” Rubin told VOA Mandarin.
VOA’s Mandarin Service contributed to this report.