China Says Pompeo Trying to ‘Sow Discord’ With Xinjiang Comments
(Bloomberg) -- China said U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was attempting to “sow discord” with recent comments about its policy toward Muslim Uighurs in its far west region of Xinjiang, treatment that has been widely criticized by foreign governments and rights groups.
Pompeo this weekend said Beijing’s campaign against the Uighurs was an “attempt to erase its own citizens” and urged countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate them, Reuters reported.
Central Asian countries “know better than the U.S. the real situation in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a harmonious and happy life and religious beliefs,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday. “Mr. Pompeo is now barking up the wrong tree and trying to sow discord between China and the central Asian countries.”
“Whatever the U.S. says, we will stay on our own course and implement our Xinjiang policy to ensure the sound development of this region,” Geng said, urging the U.S. to call off a meeting planned on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly to discuss Xinjiang.
Geng’s comments came after China on Sunday issued a white paper arguing that it had improved the protection of human rights ahead of Oct. 1’s 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule, when mass celebrations are planned.
China has maintained that its campaign in Xinjiang is a fight against terror. Its detention of as many as one million Uighurs is a source of tension with the U.S. and its policies in Xinjiang have triggered calls for sanctions from lawmakers, rights advocates and religious groups.
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