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Pompeo calls China's treatment of Uighurs 'stain of the century'

File photo: Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi Jul 19, 2019, 08.40 AM (IST)

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called China's treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority the "stain of the century", reported news agency Reuters

"China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time; it is truly the stain of the century," Pompeo told the final day of the international conference in Washington.

He also accused Beijing of pressuring countries not to attend a US-hosted conference on religious freedom.

Pompeo said Chinese government officials had sought to discourage countries from attending the three-day event he has hosted, attended by 106 countries.

"Is that consistent with the guarantee of religious belief that is found directly in the Chinese constitution?" he asked.

Congratulating countries which had defied Chinese pressure, he said: "If you have declined to attend for the same reason, we take note."

Pompeo did not name any of the countries and a State Department spokesman could not provide a figure.

"We know the Chinese government called countries specifically to discourage participation. We cannot prove the exact number they successfully impacted," he said.

Pompeo's remarks came a day after US President Donald Trump met at the White House with victims of religious persecution from countries including China, Turkey, North Korea, Iran and Myanmar.

The Chinese government on Thursday rejected any suggestion that it abuses religious and human rights.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Story highlights

"China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time; it is truly the stain of the century," Pompeo told the final day of the international conference in Washington.