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CHINA hit back at “pure disinformation and slander” by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) yesterday after it claimed to have identified 380 “suspected detention facilities” in Xinjiang based on “satellite images and construction tender documents.”
The allegations have been uncritically repeated by numerous Western media outlets, but Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that what the Australian think tank describes as camps shown in the images include an electronics manufacturing park and a residential complex.
“We hope that all sectors can distinguish truth from falsehood and resist such absurd assertions concocted by anti-China institutions,” Mr Wang said.
ASPI counts US arms manufacturers Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin among its funders – as well as the US State Department.
It has often been accused of seeking to promote hostility to China in Australia and was denounced by Victoria Senator Kim Carr of the Labour Party earlier this year for “vilifying and denigrating” Australian scientists who are working with Chinese researchers.
Mr Carr said the institute was run by “hawks intent on fighting a new cold war,” while former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade chair John Menadue said it “lacks integrity.” Former Australian ambassador to China Geoff Raby called the ASPI “the architect of the China threat theory in Australia.”
Allegations that China has incarcerated large numbers of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang have become common currency since they were raised two years ago by far-right Christian evangelist Adrian Zenz, but his claims that over a million people had been detained – which he himself admitted were “speculative” – were based on a single report by Istiqlal TV, a Uighur separatist media organisation based in Turkey. Xinjiang’s regional chairman Shohrat Zakir, himself a Uighur, has dismissed the allegations as “fabricated.”
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