China's request to extradite from Malaysia 11 Uyghurs detainees, who illegally crossed the border and are being investigated for possible links to terror activities, is legitimate and Western countries should applaud the move as they would surely take similar measures to deal with such cases, experts said.
"We have received an official request from China to extradite the 11 Uyghurs," Malaysian deputy premier Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was cited as saying by state news agency Bernama, Reuters reported on Saturday.
Zahid said Malaysia was considering the request, and that the police were investigating "whether those 11 individuals were involved in any terror activities."
"It is legitimate for China to request the extradition of the Uyghurs, who are Chinese nationals. Once extradited to China, the Uyghurs would be given a fair trial in accordance with China's laws," Zhu Yongbiao, assistant director of the Institute of Central Asia Studies at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times.
Malaysia approved a document to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China in April 2016, in which the two sides agreed to offer wide assistance to each other on criminal procedures, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The 11 Uyghurs are among a group of 20 Uyghurs who broke out of a detention center near the Thai-Malaysian border in November, Reuters reported.
The group is among hundreds of Chinese nationals detained in Thailand in 2014 after claiming to be Turkish citizens and possessing forged travel documents, Reuters reported.
"Illegal immigration affects the regular exit and entry orders and infringes on the shared interests of the international community… China would like to strengthen international efforts to safeguard regional security and peace," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in 2015 in response to the repatriation from Thailand of more than 100 Uyghurs back to China.
Experts said that considering that some Uyghurs went to join the IS by illegally crossing the border between Southwest China and some Southeast Asian countries, extraditing these Uyghurs back into China would also help the investigation of their possible involvements with terrorist organizations.
"There were some terrorists from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region who illegally crossed the border into Southeast Asian countries en route to join the IS. And after receiving training and experience, some terrorists usually return to their own countries and plan terrorist attacks. Many West countries face similar threats," Wu Shaozhong, an intelligence expert from the People's Public Security University of China, told the Global Times.
Fake Turkish identity papers are widely used by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Islamic terrorist organization founded by Uyghur jihadists in western China, to facilitate the movement of terrorists to the Middle East.
Evidence shows that a number of terrorist attacks, both in China and abroad, have been conducted by the ETIM.
"Western countries should not apply a double standard to China in its dealings with suspected terrorists as they would ask suspected terrorists involved with IS to be extradited," Zhu said, adding that China is making a contribution to international anti-terrorism efforts by strengthening domestic anti-terrorism.
The US on Friday expressed concerns over Malaysia's possible deportation of the Uighur to China, while Human Rights Watch called on Malaysia to ensure the detained Uyghur are not forcibly deported to China as they face "credible threats of imprisonment and torture," Reuters reported.
Newspaper headline: China wants Uyghurs from Malaysia