US lectures Thailand on treatment of Muslim Uighurs seeking asylum

Hmmm!  This is interesting.  Note in this story that Malaysia recently returned Uighurs to China.   Any connection to the missing plane?

From the Global Post (emphasis mine):

The United States on Friday urged Thailand to protect some 200 asylum seekers who are reportedly from China’s Uighur minority, after police said they discovered them at a secret camp.

Thai police said Thursday that they discovered the families in a raid in the kingdom’s deep south and that the asylum seekers, who appeared to be preparing to head elsewhere, said they were Turkish.

The Uighurs come from Xinjiang province. The March 1 terror attack occurred in Kunming.

US broadcaster Radio Free Asia, quoting relatives, said that the asylum seekers were actually Uighurs — a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim group from China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.

“We are urging the Thai government to provide full protection to the victims (and) to ensure that their humanitarian needs are met,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

The annual US Human Rights Reports said that China carries out “severe official repression” of Uighurs in Xinjiang, including over their freedom of speech and religion.

March 1 mass stabbing at train station:

Xinjiang is periodically hit by violent clashes and Chinese officials blamed Uighur separatists for a March 1 mass stabbing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming that killed 29 people and injured 143 others.

Malaysia among countries forcibly returning Uighurs to China.

Under Beijing’s pressure, Cambodia, Malaysia and Pakistan have all in recent years forcibly returned Uighurs to China.

The UN refugee agency criticized Malaysia for its deportation of six Uighurs to China in December, saying that they were sent back to a country where they were at risk even though the group had registered asylum claims.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that it is providing assistance to the 200 asylum seekers in Thailand but has not confirmed their identifies.

Graphic is from the Wall Street Journal report on the terrorist attack.

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