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China-US relations

Mike Pompeo denounces China’s ‘awful abuses’ of detained Muslim Uygurs

US secretary of state, in a speech about religious freedom around the world, also expressed concern about the fate of Christians in China

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 September, 2018, 5:27am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 September, 2018, 5:53am

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday denounced the “awful abuses” of Muslim Uygurs detained in Chinese reeducation camps.

“Hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of Uygurs are held against their will in so-called re-education camps where they’re forced to endure severe political indoctrination and other awful abuses,” Pompeo said in a speech in Washington on the state of religious freedom around the world.

US lawmakers demand more sanctions on China for Uygur crackdown

Beijing has rejected UN estimates that more than a million members of Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps in China’s western Xinjiang region.

Watch: Why China is keeping a tight grip on Xinjiang

In a letter to Pompeo and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Republican and Democratic members of the US Congress late last month called for sanctions on Chinese officials implicated in the internment of Uygurs.

Pompeo did not say in the speech whether he would take punitive measures.

Speaking out: Uygurs in US break silence on China’s crackdown

He also expressed concern about the fate of Christians in China, who he said had been targeted in a government crackdown.

The government, he said, has been “closing churches, burning Bibles and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith”.