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CHINA has scotched claims of a genocide in Xinjiang as “slanderous” and reiterated its invitation to United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet to visit the area today.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi again stated that Western countries were spreading deliberate misinformation about the treatment of the Uighur population, insisting that they enjoy freedom of religion and other human rights in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, in which the nationality has always had protected legal status.
Autonomous regions, which include Tibet, Guangxi, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia as well as Xinjiang, are areas of China with particularly large non-Han populations, and have more legislative autonomy than provinces as well as stronger legal status for minority languages in education and official contexts.
“Basic facts show that there has never been so-called genocide, forced labour or religious oppression in Xinjiang,” Mr Wang told the UN’s human-rights council in Geneva on Monday.
There are at least 24,000 mosques in the region, and its citizens are able to practice their own culture and traditions freely, China insists.
Western countries, led by the US, claim that one million Uighurs are held in concentration camps and subjected to abusive practices, including forced sterilisation.
Much of the evidence for these claims hinge on far-right evangelical Christian Adrian Zenz and on US-funded groups such as the World Uighur Congress.
On Monday the Canadian government voted unanimously in favour of a non-binding motion brought by the opposition Conservative Party saying that China’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority constitutes genocide.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most of his cabinet abstained.
Mr Wang told UN delegates that “the door to Xinjiang is always open. People from many countries who have visited Xinjiang have learned the facts and the truth on the ground. China also welcomes the high commissioner for human rights to visit Xinjiang.”
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