Urumqi, China, Jul 22, 2019 / 16:00 pm
Chinese government officials denied mistreating the country's ethnic Uighur population and said there is "no evidence" that the country is hostile to the minority group's religion or culture, adding that the U.S. Secretary of State is spreading lies.
According to a letter posted online July 19 by the Xinjiang government, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should "stop fabricating lies and slander about Xinjiang." The letter is signed by Chinese scholars and religious officials. Xinjiang is a region of northwest China, where most of the Uighur population lives.
At least one million Uighur Muslims are thought to be held in what the country has termed "vocational centers" or "re-education camps," which have been described by outside observers as concentration camps or internment camps. The camps have operated since 2014, but their use ramped up in 2016, following the arrival of a new leader in Xinjiang.
An editorial published in the People's Daily on Saturday, July 20, claims that China actually respects religious rights, and said that the United States has an "ulterior motive" to criticize China's treatment of religious minorities.