China brands Jewish News’ Uyghur campaign ‘deplorable slander’

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Originally published by Jewish News on 1 October, 2020

The Chinese government has reacted angrily to a Jewish News petition opposing its brutal treatment of Uyghur Muslims – signed by 150 parliamentarians and set to be delivered to Downing Street next week – branding it “deplorable slander”.

Responding to the campaign launched by this newspaper, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in London said it “elaborated the facts” over allegations of abuse.

It added: “The claim that China is persecuting the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang is a false proposition. This is a sensational headline concocted by some anti-China forces, another farce designed to smear and discredit China.”

Around one million Muslims are understood to be held in camps in Xinjiang, a region in the country’s northwest, according to human rights activists.

Rights groups have accused China of abuses including forced labour and sterilisation.

Chinese authorities deny mistreatment of the Uyghur and other Muslim minority groups, saying detention camps offer ‘vocational training’.

When asked about these allegations, China’s Embassy in London gave a lengthy 1,300 word response, insisting claims are full of “rumours and slanders”, and “we strongly deplore and oppose it.”

A spokesperson said the claim that “nearly a million Uyghurs in Xinjiang are detained” is a lie cooked up by an anti-China organization and an anti-China individual”, who they name as ‘Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), and “an anti-China individual”, named as Adrian Zenz, who they label “a far-right fundamentalist funded by the government” of the US.

“There are many rumours and lies about the vocational education and training centres in Xinjiang, calling them “concentration camps” or “re-education camps”. The truth is they are none of these. They are useful and positive explorations of preventative and de-radicalisation measures”, the spokesperson claimed.

The embassy also said the “centres were established to address the root causes for extremism” and that they are “no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK”.

The embassy concluded saying the campaign “maliciously smears the human rights situation in Xinjiang” to sew discord and stop economic growth. “However, their despicable attempts will never succeed.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said: “As the Foreign Secretary has said, it’s clear there are gross and egregious human rights violations going on against the Uyghur population in China.

“The UK Government is playing a leading role in coordinating international efforts to hold China to account for these violations and continues to raise concerns with Chinese officials.

“We call on China to allow UN observers unfettered access to Xinjiang, and to end the widespread practice of extra-judicial detention.”

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