China accidentally opened a can of worms when it released a video this weekend purporting to prove that an imprisoned Uighur musician was alive and well, contrary to recent reports that he’d died in Chinese custody. But the tactic backfired — within hours, Uighurs around the world took to social media to post pictures of their loved ones believed to be in Chinese internment camps. They demanded that China post “proof of life” videos for them, too.
Now, its decision to speak up could signal a sea change for this high-impact but internationally neglected human rights crisis. “The reintroduction of internment camps in the XXIst century and the policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in its statement, calling on Beijing to close the camps.