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China lambasts Western media reporting on Uighur community as ‘pure fabrication’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo, taken on September 13, 2019, shows people on a street in a small village where ethnic Uighurs live on the outskirts of Shayar in the region of Xinjiang, China. (By AFP)

China has dismissed reports by Western media on Beijing’s treatment of the country’s ethnic Muslim Uighur community in the western region of Xinjiang, lambasting them as “pure fabrication” and “fake news.”

Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to Britain, made the remarks during a press conference in London on Monday.

On Saturday, the New York Times published 20 documents in Chinese, over 400 pages in total, claiming that they were “leaked papers” shared with the American newspaper and that they contained “internal speeches” by Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders regarding a purported “clampdown” on the Uighur community and directives and reports on the surveillance and control of the ethnic group.

“I can categorically deny there is such a document. It is sheer, pure fabrication,” Liu said, when asked about the authenticity of the so-called documents published by the Times.

The community, which makes up about 45 percent of the region’s population, has long accused Beijing of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

China, in turn, accuses what it describes as exiled Uighur separatist groups of planning attacks in the resource-rich Xinjiang region, which is strategically located on the borders of Central Asia.

Earlier this year, a UN human rights panel cited estimates that two million Uighurs and Muslim minorities have been forced into “political camps for indoctrination” in the autonomous region, which is home to about 10 million Uighurs.

Beijing denies this as well as other reports that Uighurs are unfairly marginalized and says it is addressing underdevelopment and lack of jobs in heavily Uighur areas such as Xinjiang.

According to Chinese officials, these camps are in fact “vocational education and employment training centers” for “criminals involved in minor offenses.”

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