CNA Staff, Nov 26, 2020 / 10:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
Following Pope Francis’ mention in passing of the Uyghurs as persecuted in a new book, the Chinese foreign ministry said the claim is groundless.
“I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi -- what ISIS did to them was truly cruel -- or Christians in Egypt and Pakistan killed by bombs that went off while they prayed in church,” Pope Francis is quoted as saying in the book, “Let Us Dream,” according to the AP.
An estimated 1 million Uyghurs, members of a Muslim ethnoreligious group, have been detained in re-education camps in China’s Xinjiang region. Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uyghurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology.
Neither Pope Francis nor the Holy See has publicly commented in an official capacity on the situation.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to Pope Francis’ mention of the Uyghurs by saying that there was “no factual basis at all” to the pope's comment.