A Uighur Muslim doctor has been jailed for terrorism, Beijing confirmed Thursday, the day after her family told US politicians that she had been sentenced to 20 years.
Gulshan Abbas disappeared in custody two years ago, but her relatives told a US Congress committee on Wednesday that the 58-year-old had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for activism on behalf of the Uyghurs.
According to human rights groups, an estimated one million Uyghurs and other Turkish minorities are suffering from detention conditions in detention centers in northwest China’s Xinjiang region.
China insists that they are “vocational training centers”, but activists say inmates are subjected to torture and forced labor.
“Gulshan Abbas has been convicted under the law by the Chinese judicial authorities for participating in organized terrorism, supporting terrorist activities and seriously disrupting the social order,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.
He did not provide any further details about their alleged crimes.
“We urge US leaders to respect the facts, stop fabricating lies to smear China, and stop using the Xinjiang issue to meddle in China’s internal affairs,” he added.
Various Western countries and organizations, including the US, the EU and the United Nations, have criticized China’s policy in Xinjiang and most recently highlighted alleged forced labor practices involving Uighur Muslims.
In particular, this has highlighted suspected abuses within the textile supply chain where cotton harvested in Xinjiang by forced or cheap labor is said to be used to make cheap clothing for main western highways.
Abbas, a retired doctor who speaks fluent Mandarin, was arrested in September 2018, her sister Rushan Abbas told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year.
Rushan Abbas, who lives in the USA, has openly campaigned for her sister to be released.
“Today my family shared the devastating news we received on Christmas Day: My sister, Dr. Gulshan Abbas, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Chinese regime,” Rushan Abbas tweeted on Wednesday.
“As terrible as their injustice is, I am grateful for the support of so many human rights allies.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)