Governor of China's Xinjiang says US bill violates global law

Elias Hubbard
December 9, 2019

China, which has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uyghurs, has not provided any official figures of those held in the camps.

"When the lives of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang were seriously threatened by terrorism, the USA turned a deaf ear", Zakir said at a press briefing.

Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang's Uighur governor, made the remarks during a press briefing as part of a strident propaganda campaign launched following U.S. Congress' approval last week of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act.

People held in detention camps in China's far-north-western territory of Xinjiang have "graduated" and will have the "freedom to come and go", the territory's governor says. It describes the detainees as students. "With the help of the government, stable employment has been achieved and their quality of life has been improved".

On Monday, Mr Zakir said Xinjiang would continue with training based on "independent will" and "the freedom to come and go". He gave no details.

A bill on Xinjiang passed last week by the lower house in the United States is a severe violation of worldwide law and gross interference in China's internal affairs, the governor of the far western region said on Monday, accusing the U.S. of launching a smear campaign.

In July, a Xinjiang official said most people had "returned to society" from the camps.

Claims like these are hard to verify - as there is little transparency into these operations.

They said that the US move interferes in China's internal affairs, slanders human rights conditions in Xinjiang, smears China's efforts against terrorism and extremism, and exposes USA double standards on anti-terrorism.

Hua expressed disappointment at the lack of foreign media coverage of the documentary despite the intense concern over the Xinjiang issue.

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi has lodged a strong protest with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over US bills related to Hong Kong and the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region. The documentary, called "Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang", showed old footage of terrorist attacks over the last decade, including bombings and stabbings such as the knife attack that killed 31 people outside a railway station in southern Kunming city in 2014.

Tension has flared in recent weeks between China and the United States over issues such as Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs and anti-Government protesters in Hong Kong, complicating prospects for a near-term deal to end a 17-month-long trade war.

Zakir, who is also deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Communist Party, said any attempt to disable Xinjiang was doomed to fail.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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