China Tells UN to Respect Its Sovereignty after Xinjiang Comments

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

Citing unnamed current and former officials, the Times reported the administration has been discussing sanctions over the human rights issue for months at the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department.

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images A demonstrator wears a mask painted with the colors of the flag of East Turkestan, home to millions of Uighur Muslims under surveillance by the Chinese government.

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".

Rights groups have accused Beijing of the systematic mass detention of tens of thousands of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in political re-education camps without being charged or tried.

In the camps, the report alleged detainees were forced to repeat slogans praising the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, as well as singing patriotic songs.

As Alexander Lukin, director of the East Asian and the SCO Studies Center of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, the U.S. doesn't care about minorities - they use Muslim theme as an excuse to put more pressure on China.

A law student at the University of British Columbia named Shawn Zhang has been posting satellite photos online that he says show a network of re-education camps across Xinjiang, along with information about their location. Those who resist or are deemed to have failed to "learn" are punished, it said.

New United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, September 10, 2018.

Calling the allegations against China "deeply disturbing", Bachelet said Beijing had to allow access to the region for impartial observers.

For decades, the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang were the target of the Chinese government's surveillance and suppression.

Last month, a United Nations rights panel said it had received credible reports that up to one million ethnic Uighurs may be held in extra-legal detention in Xinjiang, and called for them to be freed.

This would be one of the first times the administration would take action against China economically for mistreating Chinese Muslims.

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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