China to oppose any United States move against its officials over Xinjiang issue

A satellite image taken over Hotan China in late August 2018 shows an internment camp center that has expanded

A satellite image taken over Hotan China in late August 2018 shows an internment camp center that has expanded

BEIJING - China called for United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to respect its sovereignty on Tuesday, after she urged it to allow monitors into the restive far western region of Xinjiang and expressed concern about the situation there.

The Trump administration may sanction Chinese government officials and businesses over human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslim groups, The New York Times reported.

The State Department on Tuesday expressed concern following reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims, which has prompted global outcry. "I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the US Government may take".

Reacting to Bachelet's comments, China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that she should "scrupulously abide by the mission and principles of the United Nations charter".

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".

The letter mentions reports that as many as one million Uighurs are being held in detention centers, referred to as "re-education camps" across Xinjiang.

The country is accused of running re-education camps, where Uighurs are forced to renounce aspects of their religious beliefs and ostensibly learn about Chinese culture.

The U.S. would also seek to restrict American sale of surveillance technology that China uses to track and monitor its Muslim population in northwest China, according to the newspaper. "They may be subjected to solitary confinement, not be allowed to eat for a certain period, or required to stand for 24-hour periods, among other punishments", said HRW researcher Maya Wang.

"In light of these reports, we would request the Government to permit access for the (UN) to all regions of China, and trust we will embark on discussion of these issues", she said.

Asked for his comment, Geng said Tuesday that "I want to add that the UN Human Rights High Commissioner and her office should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect China's sovereignty, fairly and objectively fulfil its duties, and not listen to and believe one-sided information".

But diplomats and activists are raising concerns about the treatment of Chinese Muslims following reports of indoctrination camps in the communist country.

New York-based HRW, in a report released on September 10, presented evidence of what it labeled the "arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life" by the Chinese government in its Xinjiang region.

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