China rejects genocide charge in Xinjiang, says door open to UN

China on Monday rejected “slanderous attacks” about conditions for Muslim Uighurs andother minorities living in its Xinjiang region, insisting thatthey enjoyed freedom of religion and labour rights.

Activists and U.N. rights experts have said that at least 1million Muslims are detained in camps in the remote westernregion. China denies abuses and says its camps providevocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the U.N. Human Rights Councilthat it was taking counter-terrorism measures in accordance withthe law and that Xinjiang enjoyed “social stability and sounddevelopment” after four years without any “terrorist case”.

There were 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, where people of allethnic groups also enjoyed labour rights, he said.

“These basic facts show that there has never been so-calledgenocide, forced labour, or religious oppression in Xinjiang,”Wang said. “Such inflammatory accusations are fabricated out ofignorance and prejudice, they are simply malicious andpolitically driven hype and couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The Biden administration last month endorsed a last-minutedetermination by the Trump administration that China hascommitted genocide in Xinjiang and has said the United Statesmust be prepared to impose costs on China.

Earlier, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab denouncedtorture, forced labour and sterilisations that he said weretaking place against Uighurs on an “industrial scale” inXinjiang. “The situation in Xinjiang is beyond the pale,” hesaid.

Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said: “Our commitmentto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also leaves no roomfor the arbitrary detention of ethnic minorities like theUighurs in Xinjiang or China’s crackdown on civil liberties inHong Kong.”

Wang invited U.N. scrutiny but gave no timetable.

“The door to Xinjiang is always open. People from manycountries who have visited Xinjiang have learned the facts andthe truth on the ground. China also welcomes the HighCommissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang,” he said,referring to U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose officehas been negotiating terms of access to the country.

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