Xinjiang ‘extremists’ encouraged by West, claims Chinese paper as US lawmakers demand sanctions
‘Empty statements about human rights’ overlook government achievements in the region and inspire extremists, says editorial by state-run tabloid
Turbulence in China’s far western region of Xinjiang has been caused by “external factors”, a state-run newspaper claimed on Saturday in an editorial responding to calls by a group of US lawmakers for sanctions on Chinese officials.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers had on Wednesday called for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against minority Muslims in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, saying it was being turned into a “hi-tech police state”.
But an editorial in Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said: “Western accusations of Xinjiang governance seriously misled the extremists, making them believe they were launching religious jihad and won sympathy and support from Western and international society.”
“Some forces have slandered China’s governing efforts” in Xinjiang, the editorial said, accusing a “West-centred [value] system” of making “empty statements about human rights regardless of the purpose and effect of Xinjiang governance and the grim reality it targets”.
“Such empty talk inspires extremists, which meets the purposes of some Western politicians trying to undermine the governance achievements in Xinjiang and push the region into turmoil,” the editorial said.
On Thursday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing that the United States did “not have the right” to make “unwarranted criticism” of China’s policies towards ethnic minorities.
A United Nations human rights panel last month said it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uygurs in China were held in what resembled a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”.
China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uygur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
Hundreds have died in unrest there in recent years.