Beijing, May 7 (IANS) China has rejected US accusations of operating “concentration camps” in its Xinjiang region, with a government spokesman telling Washington to “stop interfering in Chinese domestic affairs”.
Speaking at his daily press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said claims of concentration camps in Xinjiang were “simply not true” and claimed the mass camps were set up to “combat terrorism”, reports CNN.
“We urge the relevant US individual to respect the fact, abandon bias, exercise prudence in words and deeds, stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs and earnestly contribute to mutual trust and cooperation between us,” he said.
China’s response comes after US Assistant Secretary of Defence Randall Schriver on May 3 said that as many as three million Muslim-majority Uyghur ethnic community may be held inside the massive Chinese government camps.
“The Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,” Schriver said.
In recent years, the Chinese government has detained large numbers of Uyghurs in what former detainees describe as re-education centres with prison-like conditions, aimed at eradicating Uyghur cultural and religious practices and instilling Communist Party propaganda, CNN reported.
However, Beijing has repeatedly denied the Uyghur citizens are being held in such large numbers and against their will, calling the camps instead “vocational education training centres”.
China has been under increasing pressure in the past six months to shut down its mass camps in Xinjiang.
Even China’s diplomatic partner Turkey labelled the camps a “great shame for humanity” in February.