Uighur muslim
People protest against China's treatment of the Uighur population, in Vancouver, May 8, 2019.Reuters

Despite criticism from western countries and human rights organisations on contentious Chinese policies in Xinjiang region, around 35 countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have pledged their support for China. 

China has been accused of keeping two million Uighur as well as other Muslims in detention centres. The persecution of Muslims in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has also been raised at the United Nations. However, it has been reported that Pakistan is among countries that have supported Beijing on the international stage. 

"Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centres," a letter signed by the supporting nations said, reported Reuters.

The letter also claimed that the people living in the region enjoy 'peace, happiness, fulfilment and security' since no terror activity was reported for the past three years.

Pakistan had supported China in 2018 despite claims that detention centres were holding dozens of women who married men from neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan. Many people living in Gilgit-Baltistan region practice cross-border trade with China

Islamabad has said that the UN reports and human rights outcry is attempted to 'sensationalise the matter' and slammed the reports as 'false information.'

China had denied the human rights accusations in a similar manner in the past. It had asserted that the facilities were "re-integration and re-education centres" to eliminate extremist operatives of Pakistan-trained Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants.

Over the past few years, China-Pakistan relations have strengthened after Beijing poured in tens of billion dollars investments into the country. Recently, China gave $ 4.6 billion in deposits and commercial loans to Pakistan. Last week, Beijing met Pakistani officials and pledged to invest $ 5 billion in the next three to five years in several small and medium-size industrial sectors in the country.

The countries that have signed the letter include ambassadors from many African countries as well as Belarus, Bahrain, Cuba, Kuwait, North Korea, Myanmar, Oman, Philippines, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.