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As House Passes Uighur Bill, Beijing Urges US to 'Immediately Correct Its Mistakes'

CC BY 2.0 / Evgeni Zotov / BazaarHotan, southwestern Xinjiang
Hotan, southwestern Xinjiang - Sputnik International
On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the Trump administration to impose sanctions on senior Chinese officials over allegations of mistreatment of China's Uighur ethnic minority. To become law, the bill must pass the US Senate and then be sent to US President Donald Trump.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement issued early on Wednesday characterized US lawmakers as attempting to discredit "China's efforts to de-radicalize and combat terrorism" in the Xinjiang region, complaining that the US bill "seriously interferes in China's internal affairs".

"The issue of Xinjiang is not human rights, ethnic and religious issues, but anti-terrorism and anti-separatist issues. Xinjiang has been plagued by extremist and violent terrorist activities. In the face of the grim situation, the government of Xinjiang autonomous region to combat terrorism activities according to law, while paying attention to the source of governance, including actively promoting the work of extremism, and constantly promote economic development, national unity and social harmony and stability", the statement reportedly said.

The ministry urged the US to "immediately correct the mistake", referring to the bill, and stop the enactment of "the above-mentioned Xinjiang law" and cease "the usage of Xinjiang-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs", adding that "China will react further in the light of the development of the situation".

"We want to inform the US that the affairs of Xinjiang are purely internal affairs of China, and no foreign intervention is allowed", according to the statement.

Earlier, Chinese state-run media outlet The Global Times suggested that Beijing could impose "visa restrictions on US officials and lawmakers who've had odious performance on Xinjiang issue".

In late August 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination documented large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities detained in political "re-education camps" in Xinjiang, often for long periods without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.

Beijing authorities insist that the enormous detention camps are vocational education and training centers for Uighurs to learn language and law, as well as gain professional skills. The camps are also claimed by Beijing to strengthen resistance to extremism and terrorism.

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