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China targets Uighurs with more prosecutions, prison terms: HRW

China has increased its prosecution of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang through the formal court system. The courts are pressing charges and giving prison sentences for charges such as “picking quarrels” and “giving gifts to overseas relatives.” An estimated one million Uighurs and other mainly Muslim minorities have also been detained in internment camps in the Xinjiang province.

More than 250,000 people in the northwestern region have been formally sentenced and imprisoned since 2016. The US State Department has said the actions in Xinjiang amount to genocide, Canadian legislators followed suit in a similar declaration. Human Rights Watch said criminal sentences in the Xinjiang region had spiked between 2017 and 2019. HRW said police, prosecutors and courts have been under pressure to deliver punishment in the name of counterterrorism, causing a large amount of imprisonment. China’s treatment of Muslim minorities including a regime of forced labor and sterilizing women has been met with international condemnation.

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