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

Abdusalam Muhemet an ethnic Uighur Muslim who ran a restaurant in Hotan before fleeing China this year in Istanbul

China on Tuesday told the new United Nations human rights chief to respect its sovereignty after she called for access to its regions following "deeply disturbing" allegations of mass detentions of Muslim minorities.

The US could impose sanctions against Chinese officials and companies linked to alleged human rights abuses over Beijing's "worsening crackdown" on the nation's minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

The group said in a report that Xinjiang's Muslim population of about 13 million has been subjected to "forced political indoctrination, collective punishment, restrictions on movement and communications, heightened religious restrictions, and mass surveillance in violation of worldwide human rights law".

The US Department of State said it received at the end of last month a letter from a bipartisan group of US lawmakers asking US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to impose sanctions on a number of Chinese officials accused of overseeing the policies in Xinjiang. "I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the US Government may take".

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

Instead of addressing any specific allegations of abuse in the Human Rights Watch report, spokesperson Geng Shuang 耿爽 attacked the NGO's credibility: "This organization has formed a habit of treating China with prejudice, distorting facts and stirring up troubles".

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As we noted in our Access newsletter yesterday (paywall), several events coincided over the weekend and on Monday that signaled the world is really starting to notice the abusive social engineering program underway in China's Xinjiang region.

The rights watchdog said that 1 million people are being held in detention camps, where Turkic Muslims are being forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, and memorize rules applicable primarily to Turkic Muslims.

Punishments for refusing to follow instructions in the camp could mean being denied food, being forced to stand for 24 hours or even solitary confinement, it said.

Discussions have gained momentum within the USA government over possible economic penalties in response to reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China's far western region, which have prompted an worldwide outcry.

In May, Chinese state media said more than a million local Chinese Communist officials were being sent to live with local families in Xinjiang.

New York-based HRW, in a report released on September 10, presented evidence of what it labeled the "arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life" by the Chinese government in its Xinjiang region.

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