UN rights activists and experts have said at least one million Muslims are being held in camps in the remote western region.
China has rejected “slanderous attacks” on the living conditions of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities living in its Xinjiang region, saying they enjoy freedom of religion and other basic rights.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, said there were 24,000 mosques in the western region, adding that “Basic facts show that ‘There has never been a so-called genocide, forced labor or religious oppression in Xinjiang. “.
“The gate to Xinjiang is always open. People from many countries who visited Xinjiang learned the facts and the truth from the field. China also welcomes the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang, ”said Wang, referring to UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose office has negotiated the conditions of access. in the country.
UN activists and rights experts have said at least one million Muslims are imprisoned in camps in the remote western region.
China denies the abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.
On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab denounced torture, forced labor and sterilizations he said were being carried out against Muslim Uyghurs on an “industrial scale.”
“The situation in Xinjiang is beyond pale,” Raab told the Geneva forum where China is one of 47 member states.
“The reported abuses – which include torture, forced labor and forced sterilization of women – are extreme and they are extensive. They are taking place on an industrial scale, ”he said.
Raab called for Bachelet or another independent expert to have “urgent and unimpeded access” to Xinjiang and said there should be a resolution in the council to that effect.
Last month, a bipartisan US Congressional committee said in a new report that China possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims belonging to a minority in its western region of Xinjiang.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CCCB) said new evidence has emerged over the past year that “crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide – are taking place.”
In December of last year, Human Rights Watch announced a big data program in Xinjiang, China “arbitrarily selects“Muslims in detention, reporting behavior such as wearing the veil, studying the Koran or a Hajj pilgrimage as reasons for arrest.
US President Joe Biden endorsed a last-minute decision by the Trump administration that China committed genocide in Xinjiang and said Washington must be prepared to impose costs on China.