In news- Forty-three countries including United States, European countries and Asian states called on China at the UN to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” with regard to the Muslim Uyghur community in Xinjiang, where there are reported human rights violations.
- There are about 12 million Uyghurs living in Xinjiang province which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
- Xinjiang lies in the north-west of China and is the country’s largest region.
- It is a mostly desert region and produces about a fifth of the world’s cotton.
- The region is also rich in oil and natural gas.
- The Uyghurs, largely Muslims, speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.
- In the early 20th Century, the Uyghurs briefly declared independence for the region but it was brought under the complete control of China’s new Communist government in 1949.
- Human rights groups have voiced concerns that much of that cotton export in Xinjiang is picked by forced labour, and in 2021 some Western brands removed Xinjiang cotton from their supply chains.