Astana Says China Allowing 2,000 Ethnic Kazakhs To Leave Xinjiang

Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry says China is allowing more than 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs to renounce their Chinese citizenship and leave the country.

Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang region have launched a massive indoctrination and detention campaign, sending hundreds of thousands and possibly more than 1 million people into internment camps that Beijing describes as "reeducation" centers.

Former detainees have said they were forced to renounce their culture and religious beliefs and were subjected to political indoctrination.

The detention of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic minorities at the camps has been a sensitive subject in neighboring Kazakhstan, a mostly Muslim country of 18 million people.

China is a major trading partner for Astana, and Kazakhstan's state-controlled media has generally avoided reporting about the internment camps.

But pressure for action has increased following international media coverage of the issue.

Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry in a January 9 statement confirmed December media reports in Kazakhstan that Beijing has agreed to allow more than 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs to leave China.

The statement said they will be allowed to apply for Kazakh citizenship or permanent residency after they arrive in Kazakhstan.

China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reports.

Based on reporting by AP