File photo of an Uighur man in Xinjiang province. Photograph:( ANI )
Human Rights Watch said the Chinese government also indulged in "forced political indoctrination" and carried out mass crackdown against the Uighurs
After the Human Rights Watch said Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region were being arbitrary detained and daily restrictions on religious practice placed on them, China said the watchdog was prejudiced against it.
Human Rights Watch said the Chinese government also indulged in "forced political indoctrination" and carried out mass crackdown against the Uighurs, an accusation dismissed by China.
"Xinjiang's social stability and lasting law and order is the joint wish of all its peoples, and accords with their basic interests," the Chinese foreign ministry said, adding,"the series of policy measures put in place in Xinjiang are aimed at promoting stability, development, unity and livelihoods, and at the same time are to crack down in accordance with the law against ethnic separatism and violent terrorist criminal activities."
The Human Rights Watch had earlier said that China was holding upto 1 million Uighurs in secret "internment camps" in Xinjiang.
Referring to the international watchdog, China said: "The relevant group mentioned has always been full of prejudice against China."
China says Islamist militants and separatists stir up tensions between Uighurs who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
According to Human Rights Watch, Uighurs held in the camps are forbidden from using Islamic greetings, must learn Mandarin and sing 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 said.
New security measures described by interviewees include proliferating checkpoints that make use of facial recognition technology and sophisticated police monitoring systems, such as each house having a QR code that, when scanned, shows the authorities who the approved occupants are.
Security conditions in Xinjiang outside the camps had also intensified markedly and now bear “a striking resemblance to those inside”, Hong Kong-based Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang said, based on interviews with 58 former Xinjiang residents now living abroad.
However, the Chinese foreign ministry said it aims to “promote stability, development, unity and livelihoods”, while also cracking down on “ethnic separatism and violent terrorist criminal activities."