French claims on imprisonment of Uighur are 'lies', says China

WION Web Team New Delhi Jul 22, 2020, 05.06 PM(IST)

File Photo: A Chinese police officer takes his position by the road near what is officially called a vocational education centre in Yining in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

France's foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves le Drian said China's actions were "unacceptable" and said they "condemn them firmly".

China on Wednesday said that the French claims about the imprisonment of ethnic and religious minorities in China's Xinjiang region were unacceptable. 

China's response came a day after Paris demanded it let independent human rights observers visit the northwestern region, where rights groups and experts estimate over one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps.

France's foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves le Drian said China's actions were "unacceptable" and said they "condemn them firmly".

Beijing has defended its strategy in Xinjiang as necessary to avoid extremism.

Also read: 'Nothing but rumours and slander': China to UK on Uighurs abuse

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing on Wednesday that "China has repeatedly responded to and clarified false reports and accusations on Xinjiang-related issues".

"About so-called lies that Xinjiang restricts religious freedom and suppresses Muslims... the truth is that recently, some politicians and media in the US and the west have stigmatised Xinjiang's lawful fight against terrorism and extremism," Wang said.

"We firmly oppose the politicisation of religious issues and the use of religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs," he added.

Meanwhile, a prominent group of British lawyers suggested nations use sanctions, corporate accountability mechanisms, and international treaties preventing racial discrimination to pressure Beijing.

Also read: Uighur community suffering in China, says United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

The international community is legally obliged to take action on China’s alleged abuse of Uighur and other Turkic minorities, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) said in a report released on Wednesday.

China’s refusal to be held legally accountable for the widespread and documented allegations did not absolve the global community of responsibility, BHRC) said in a report released on Wednesday.

“All states, including China, have unequivocally accepted that slavery and racial discrimination, torture and genocide are prohibited,” it said.

“They have committed to not carry out those proscribed acts; they have committed to their prevention; and they have committed to punishment of perpetrators where they have found individuals to have committed those proscribed acts. There can be no derogation from those commitments.”

(With inputs from AFP)