Former Muslim leader at China's largest mosque in Xinjiang incarcerated: Report
Beijing [China], May 24 (ANI): A former Muslim leader at China's largest mosque in the Xinjiang region was incarcerated by Chinese authorities in 2017 on the charges of having "spread extremism", Kyodo News reported citing sources on Sunday.
The revelation comes at a time when western countries have increased their criticism of the Chinese government for what they called "genocide" against the minorities in Xinjiang province.
Several reports have revealed that the Chinese government has detained millions of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang internment camps for opposing growing state surveillance under the re-education campaign.
Meanwhile, China has denied all the allegations. President Xi Jinping's leadership has consistently said its internment camps are vocational training centres established to combat terrorism and religious extremism preemptively, urging the United States not to interfere in its "internal affairs."
In a report on Sunday, Kyodo News reported that the former imam at the Id Kah mosque was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
In addition to him, several other religious leaders have been also detained.
The current imam at the mosque, however, has denied religious oppression by the ruling Communist Party.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
Early this year, the United States became the first country in the world to declare the Chinese actions in Xinjiang as "genocide". In February, both the Canadian and Dutch parliaments adopted motions recognising the Uyghur crisis as genocide. The latter became the first parliament in Europe to do so.
In April, the United Kingdom also declared China's ongoing crackdown in Xinjiang a "genocide". (ANI)