China: Xinjiang Children Separated from Families

Return Minors Housed in State-Run Institutions to RelativesHuman Rights Watch
Date: September 15, 2019

The entrance to the No. 4 High School with a sign that reads “Entering school grounds, please speak Mandarin,” left, in Peyzawat, Xinjiang region.
 © 2018 AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

(New York) – Chinese authorities should immediately release to their families children held in “child welfare” institutions and boarding schools in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should cease unnecessarily separating Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim children from their families.

Under China’s “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism,” an estimated 1 million Turkic Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in unlawful political education camps in Xinjiang since 2017. An unknown number are being held in detention centers and prisons. Chinese authorities have housed countless children whose parents are detained or in exile in state-run child welfare institutions and boarding schools without parental consent or access.

“The Chinese government’s forced separation of children is perhaps the cruelest element of its oppression in Xinjiang,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Children should be either immediately returned to the custody of relatives in China or allowed to join their parents outside the country.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed five families from the Xinjiang region now living outside the country who described having no contact with their children. Some know and others believe the authorities placed their children in state-run institutions without their family’s consent.    [FULL  STORY]

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