China's foreign ministry head beside Pope Francis

For the first time, Pope Francis mentions the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China in a passage of his new book, the Guardian reported.  

Many human rights activists have been urging him to condemn the act for a long time.

In his new book, Let Us Dream: the Path to a Better Future, the pope said, “I think often of persecuted peoples.” He then mentions the Uighur Muslims along with other persecuted minorities, the Rohingyans, and the Yazidis. 

It was during a section where the pope also talked about the persecution of Christians in some Islamic countries. 

In the past, activists criticized the pope for not mentioning Rohingyans during his peace speech in Myanmar. 

Myanmar has been criticized by the international community for the persecution of its minority group, the Rohingya Muslims. 

Later on, he met with Rohingyan refugees in Bangladesh and directly addressed them for the first time. 

In another event, the pope addressed the persecution of Yazidis and spoke about respecting their rights. 

Defensive China

The pope’s brief mention of the minority group in China did not sit well with its government. 

In fact, the Chinese government criticized him for it. 

According to an Al Jazeera report, the pope’s comment does not have any “factual basis at all.” 

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said during a press conference that “all ethnic groups” enjoy their full rights. 

Those rights include freedom of religious belief, development, and survival, the minister added. 

However, the spokesperson did not mention China’s use of re-education camps for its Uighur minority. 

A satellite photo of Uyghurs in concentration camps

The Uighur Minorities Issue in China

Two months ago, many human rights activists campaigned to boycott the live-action adaptation of the 1998 Disney animated movie, Mulan. 

The boycott came after it was found out that some of its scenes were shot in Xinjiang, the place where China allegedly abuses Uyghur Muslims.

Pieces of evidence have surfaced showing China is sending the Uighurs to internment camps.

For example, there are satellite shots and videos of the camps. 

Also, there are statements from the family members and friends of the persecuted Uighurs who are still in China. 

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