PA president Mahmoud Abbas. Image credit:, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, ended a trip to China last week by voicing his support for Beijing’s repressive policies towards the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

During the four-day visit, Abbas met China’s president and ruling Communist party head Xi Jinping.

Abbas and Xi issued a joint statement endorsing Beijing’s domestic and foreign policies, while repudiating western concepts of human rights.

In the statement, the Palestinian Authority said China’s crackdown against the Muslim Uyghurs have “nothing to do with human rights and are aimed at excising extremism and opposing terrorism and separatism.”

“Palestine resolutely opposes using the Xinjiang problem as a way of interfering in China’s internal affairs,” the joint statement said.

More than one million Uyghurs and other Chinese Muslims have been detained by the Chinese state in prison-like detention centres without legal basis, including for having family studying abroad or for accessing the Quran on their phones.

A number of national legislatures, including the House of Commons, have passed motions recognising China’s repression against the Uyghurs as genocidal.

Despite western criticism of China’s policies in Xinjiang, Arab states have almost never openly expressed concern over Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs.