China: US remarks about Uighur Muslims “shameless interference” in domestic affairs

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — China on Thursday condemned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks about Uighurs in China as “very silly” and “rude interference” in their internal affairs.

Pompeo called Wednesday for the “immediate” release of Uighur Muslims detained in “detention camps” in China during a meeting in Washington, one of the “survivors” who condemned widespread torture in Chinese prisons against the Muslim minority.

For its part, Beijing emphasizes that these sites are “vocational training” centers that help people who are vulnerable to extremism to avoid slipping into terrorism and reintegrating into society, in a region that has seen attacks attributed to separatists or Uighurs.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday that Pompeo’s comments were “very ridiculous and shameless interference in China’s internal affairs.”

“Currently the general situation in Xinjiang society is stable … and all ethnic groups live in harmony.”

“We call on the United States to respect the facts … to stop the malicious distortion and the baseless accusations against the Chinese side,” he said.

According to the latest US report on human rights in the world published in mid-March, Beijing “stepped up the campaign of arrests of Muslim minorities to a record.”

The authors of the US report estimate that “more than a million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims” have been “held in rehabilitation camps”.

The US secretary of state met in Washington on Tuesday with Mehrigul Turson, who “survived horrific abuses at a Chinese detention camp” in western China’s Xinjiang province, according to a State Department statement.

Mike Pompeo praised the “courage” of these “survivors” who dare to “reject China’s violations.” “China should release those detainees arbitrarily and end this repression,” he wrote on Twitter.

The State Department said the issue was “one of the most serious human rights problems in today’s world.”

After months of denying the existence of detention centers, Beijing launched a campaign last year to defend “rehabilitation centers” by organizing visits to diplomats or media from friendly countries.

A delegation of three EU officials visited Xinjiang last January as part of a carefully organized visit and came back with the impression that the people who spoke to them at a “rehabilitation center” echoed their words.

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