China urges U.S. to 'abandon prejudice' over Xinjiang

A Chinese paramilitary policeman wears mask to protect against pollution in Beijing

Sanctions on Chinese officials and companies complicit in abuses in Xinjiang are being considered by the USA, the New York Times reported later on Monday. For those who can read, they read out from a paper but for those who cannot, they said, "You can sing a song or tell a story and we will record you".

"The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities in "political reeducation" centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response", they said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

However, the New York Times report said discussions about how to deal with China over the abuses by White House, Treasury, and State Department officials, had been underway for months.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday the measures in Xinjiang were necessary to "crack down on ethnic separatist activities and (violence) and terrorist crimes".

"The Chinese government protects people's freedom of religion and people of all ethnic groups are fully entitled to freedom of religion".

China has defended their crackdown in the region, saying that Islamist militants are plotting attacks in Xinjiang and are considered a serious threat.


The new human rights commissioner also said she was concerned about the humanitarian suffering in Yemen's civil war, asking for greater transparency from the intervening coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and promising to closely follow steps taken to hold the perpetrators of airstrikes on civilians accountable.

In the camps, the Uighurs are reportedly forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, espouse the Communist party and denounce Islam. "They may be subjected to solitary confinement, not be allowed to eat for a certain period, or required to stand for 24-hour periods, among other punishments", said HRW researcher Maya Wang.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch released a report estimating the number of detainees could be as high as one million and that "w$3 ithin these secretive facilities, those held are forced to undergo political indoctrination for days, months, and even over a year".

"My understanding is the issue has been raised very diplomatically to signal the concern ... but not cause the wrath of the Chinese government", Nargis Kassenova, director of the Central Asian Studies Center at KIMEP University in Almaty, said recently.

Available information suggests that Uyghurs may be subject to the harshest treatment at the hands of Xinjiang authorities, HRW writes, saying that since its report draws heavily on testimony from ethnic Kazakhs who have left the region, it is hard to assess the "full extent of the repressive policies in Xinjiang, particularly those directed at Uyghurs".

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