China hits back at 'prejudiced' US with own rights criticism

Shohrat Zakir chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region prepares to describe the mass internment of ethnic minority Muslims in the country’s far west as a system of training centers that saves Muslims from religious extremism by teaching them

"Rounding up, in some the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA. It's just remarkably bad", Reuters quotes the ambassador.

"Although it is speculative it seems appropriate to estimate that up to 1.5 million ethnic minorities-equivalent to just under 1 in 6 adult members of a predominantly Muslim minority group in Xinjiang-are or have been interned in any of these detention, internment and re-education facilities, excluding formal prisons", Zenz said at an event organized by the US mission in Geneva, home of United Nations human rights bodies.

One of the panelists, John Fisher, who heads Human Rights Watch's Geneva office, suggested Washington was partially to blame for the lack of broader worldwide condemnation of the situation in Xinjiang.

The human rights situation in China has "never been better", China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Thursday, a day after the United States issued a report criticizing human rights violations in the Asian country.

While Kozak did not elaborate on his comment about the 1930s, he was apparently referring to the policies of persecution of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union.

China had initially denied the existence of the camps, Kozak said, adding that its current justification that they were for voluntary labour training "does not match the facts".

Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese mission to the UN Office at Geneva, said, "China will never allow Xinjiang to go back to the days of raging violence, terror and extremism and will never allow those forces to take away the peaceful and happy life from the people in Xinjiang".

Beijing has warned of retaliation if Washington were to target Chen and the administration has yet to act despite complaints from U.S. lawmakers.

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"Today, more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims are interned in reeducation camps created to erase their religious and ethnic identities", he said.

He said Beijing intensified its campaign of repression against Muslims in the far western province of Xinjiang "to record levels" during 2018. Local authorities recently compared them to "boarding schools".

The report said government officials had claimed the camps were needed to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism but global media, human rights organizations, and former detainees reported that security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.

However, HRW has also strongly criticized the US, with its 2019 report arguing that the country "continued to move backward on human rights at home and overseas in the second year [2018] of President Donald Trump's administration". It said it did not know how many children were affected.

Tehran was also cited for contributing to rights abuses in Syria through its support for President Bashar al-Assad, and, in Yemen, for backing the Huthi rebels battling for control of the country.

On Iran, Pompeo said that the country is continuing "the pattern of cruelty that the regime has inflicted on the Iranian people for the last four decades".

Meanwhile, Pompeo's own stance against evil in the world was undercut by the preface to the report, in which he writes: "The policy of this administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their record, if doing so will further USA interests".



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