Center, Isamaa chairmen refrain from criticizing China over Uighurs

A suspected camp in Xinjiang, China.
A suspected camp in Xinjiang, China. Source: SCANPIX / AFP

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa (Center) and the Chairman of the Isamaa Party Helir-Valdor Seeder have refrained from criticizing China in connection with the state's actions against the Uighurs.

On Wednesday, opposition leader of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas said China's treatment of its Muslim Uighur population in Xinjiang is reminiscent of the Holocaust

When ERR asked Eesmaa about the situation of the Uighurs, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee refrained from commenting on the issue. 

"It is important that the European Union is united in China policy and that is enough," Eesmaa said. He said he had heard Kallas' statement.

On Friday, Eesmaa joined a joint statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Committees of 10 European Union countries expressing concern and disappointment at the People's Republic of China's recent decision to enact the People's Republic of China Law on National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region without the consent of Hong Kong residents.

When asking about the Uighurs, Eesmaa also referred to the joint statement adopted on Friday, although the issue of Uighurs is not covered by the statement. "It is possible that we will adopt a similar statement regarding the Uighurs in the near future, but now we will limit ourselves to that," Eesmaa said.

Commenting on the subject on Friday on Vikirraadio's Helir-Valdor Seeder, said that the situation is not black and white.

"There is definitely no black-and-white answer here, and Estonia certainly cannot implement a black-and-white policy. The world is very complicated in its various relations and Estonia is a small country, so we inevitably have to deal with China bilaterally, that is, our direct relations. is also in the interests of the Estonian state," said Seeder.

Seeder said smart diplomacy must be applied when engaging with China.

According to human rights organizations and Uighurs fleeing to the West, China has launched a campaign in the northwestern province of Xinjiang to torture, starve, rape and sterilize Uighurs living there to destroy their national identities. Millions of Uighurs are said to be being held in prison camps in order to re-educate them against Islamic extremism.

 In June, Estonia and 27 countries issued a joint statement to grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to Xinjiang.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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