China rejects Turkey’s criticism on poet death in custody

China hit back on Monday at Turkey’s criticism over its treatment of Uighurs and denied Ankara’s claim that a renowned poet from the Muslim minority had died in custody.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, China has made solemn representations towards Turkey on the issue. She called the Turkish statement vile and urged Ankara to withdraw its false accusations.

In a statement on Saturday, Turkey’s foreign ministry criticised China’s mass detentions of its Turkic-speaking Uighurs and claimed that poet Abdurehim Heyit had died serving an eight-year Chinese prison sentence imposed as punishment over one of his songs.

But on Sunday, China released a video showing a man who identified himself as Heyit and saying that he was alive and well.

A UN panel of experts has said that nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities had been herded into re-education camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, where most of the country’s more than 10 million Uighurs live.