The US State Department on Tuesday expressed deep concern over China's "worsening crackdown" on minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region, as the Trump administration considered sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies linked to allegations of human rights abuses. For those who can read, they read out from a paper but for those who cannot, they said, "You can sing a song or tell a story and we will record you".
Multiple reports claim that at least one million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the country's northwest have been detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party.
"The Chinese are always opposed to the U.S. using the Xinjiang related issues to interfere in China-related affairs", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.
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But he said that various ethnic groups in the region have a common desire for social stability, and that the Chinese government guarantees freedom of faith based on law.
In August, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers called for Chinese officials involved in alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang to be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act - the 2012 law originally created to freeze the assets of certain Russian government officials and businessmen accused of human rights violations.
Detainees in these political re-education camps have not been charged with any crime, have no access to lawyers or contact with relatives.
China has defended their crackdown in the region, saying that Islamist militants are plotting attacks in Xinjiang and are considered a serious threat.
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The country is accused of running re-education camps, where Uighurs are forced to renounce aspects of their religious beliefs and ostensibly learn about Chinese culture.
Ethnic Kazakhs are increasingly being targeted in China's "Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism" in the far western Xinjiang region, Human Rights Watch charges in a new report.
The new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report comes after a United Nations committee last month raised alarm at the "numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism", CNN reported.
In May, Chinese state media said more than a million local Chinese Communist officials were being sent to live with local families in Xinjiang.
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The region has become one of themost intrusive police states in the world, and government surveillance of Muslim Uighurs permeates nearly every aspect of their lives, from an expansive network of facial-recognition cameras which monitor their daily activity, to policecollecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types to keep a database of all its residents.