Uighur detentions in China among issues in new US rights report


Uighur detentions in China among issues in new US rights report

The U.S. State Department is due to release Wednesday its annual report on human rights issues in countries around the world.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver remarks along with the release, after which journalists will be able to question Ambassador Michael Kozak.

A senior official told VOA one of the issues featured in the report is the case of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.

The U.S. and other Western governments, as well as rights groups, have accused China of detaining Uighurs and other Muslims in internment camps meant to purge their religious and cultural identity.

China says it is running a deradicalization program and that the camps are vocational training centers to teach people about the law and the Mandarin language. Chinese authorities said Tuesday that the camps in Xinjiang will “gradually disappear” if a time arises when “society does not need them.”

Samuel Brownback, the U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, said Friday during a speech in Hong Kong that China’s detentions are not proportionate to any real threat it faces from extremism.

“China is not solving a terrorist problem by forcibly moving women, children, the elderly, and the highly educated intelligentsia into mass detention centers and internment camps. Instead, they are creating one,” he said.

U.S. lawmakers are pressuring the Trump administration to take stronger actions against China. The House Foreign Affairs Committee told Pompeo last week it “appears the administration has taken no meaningful action” on the matter.

Pompeo said the administration is considering sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for rights abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

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