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End ‘brainwashing’ Muslims in Xinjiang : Amnesty to China

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Beijing, Sep 24 : Amnesty International has asked China to end the “brainwashing” and the mass incarceration of Uighur and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Amnesty International in a report stated that China has held nearly one million Muslims  in “re-education” camps in the Xinjiang Uighur region.

In the past year, the government has intensified its campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, according to the report.

The campaign prohibits any display of religious and cultural affiliation, including growing an “abnormal” beard, wearing a veil or head scarf, regular prayer, fasting or avoidance of alcohol, or possessing books or articles about Islam or Uighur culture as Chinese authorities consider them “extremist” behaviour, reports Efe news.

It is estimated that currently nearly one million Muslims are being held by the authorities in re-education camps, without the right to trial, access to lawyers or contact with family members, the report said.

“The mass detention camps are places of brainwashing, torture and punishment. A simple act of messaging your family abroad can get you detained highlights how ludicrous, unjustified and completely arbitrary the Chinese authorities’ actions are,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East Asia Director.

The Chinese government justifies these measures as part of its counter-extremism and counter-terrorism efforts and only releases an individual who “has been transformed”.

Those who resist or fail to show sufficient progress could face punishments ranging from verbal abuse to food deprivation, solitary confinement or beatings.

“There have been reports of deaths inside the facilities, including suicides of those unable to bear the mistreatment,” the human rights organisation said, based on its interviews with former detainees.

Among them was Kairat Samarkan, who was sent to a detention camp in October 2017 after travelling to Kazakhstan and later released in February 2018. The Chinese authority accused him of “betraying his country”.

According to AI, Samarkan was hooded, made to wear shackles on his arms and legs and forced to stand in a fixed position for 12 hours.

There were almost 6,000 people held in the same camp as Samarkan, where they were forced to sing political songs such as “Long live Xi Jinping” and study speeches of the Chinese Communist Party, Samarkan recounted.

Travel abroad for work or education, particularly to majority Muslim countries, or contact with people outside China are also major reasons for suspicion, according to AI.

“Families have suffered enough. Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown. They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers,” said Bequelin.

AI called on the government of President Xi Jinping to put an end to this campaign of “systematic repression” against Muslims, a call raised on numerous occasions by many international organisations.

It is estimated that in China there are some 23 million Muslims or approximately 1.7 per cent of the population, among which are ethnic minorities such as Hui or others whose origins are linked to Uighur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz or Tajik people in Central Asia.

India

India Offers $100 Million Line of Credit To Sri Lanka For Solar Projects

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

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Colombo: India has offered a Line of Credit worth $ 100 million to Sri Lanka for three solar projects in the country, according to an official statement.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

They discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways to expedite progress on bilateral power projects currently under discussion between the two sides.

The Indian envoy also handed over a copy of a letter conveying an offer from India to Sri Lanka for a Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for three solar projects announced during the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference held in March, 2018 in New Delhi, the statement said.

The LoC will cover financing for rooftop solar systems meant for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island. The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW, it said.

The LoC will also provide financing for a floating solar power plant. The implementation of the LoC will begin with the conclusion of an LoC agreement between the two sides, it said.

The Indian High Commissioner conveyed that the $100 million LoC is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation, the statement added.

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Politics

A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Politics

Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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