Ready to allow UN officials in Xinjiang 'if they follow proper procedure': China

Police officers check the identity cards of people as security forces keep watch in a street in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Beijing, China Jan 07, 2019, 02.27 PM (IST)

China's foreign ministry said that would allow UN officials to visit Xinjiang "if they follow the proper procedures" amid reports of suppression of the local population in the area.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made the comments in Beijing.

Last year a United Nations human rights panel had said it had received credible reports that one million ethnic Uighurs in China were held in what resembled a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy."

China had said camps were "vocational training centres" to bolster economic growth in the region.

The Xinjiang region has been the focus of renewed attention amid reports of Bejing's "deradicalisation" plan in the mostly Muslim dominated Turkic Uighurs. In 2009, Xinjiang had experienced riots which was quelled by local authorities.

China maintains that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers had called for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for alleged human rights abuses against in Xinjiang region.

Human Rights Watch had said that Uighur Muslims face arbitrary detentions, daily restrictions on religious practice and "forced political indoctrination".

The rights body accused China of forbidding Islamic greetings in the region and making Mandarin language mandatory which included singing propaganda songs.

Punishments for refusing to follow instructions in the camp could mean being denied food, being forced to stand for 24 hours or even solitary confinement, it had said in its report. China refuted the allegation.

Last week the US had issued a  "Level 2" warning over extra security checks and increased police presence in the Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Regions.