Chinese President Xi Jinping said levels of happiness among all ethnic groups in the western region of Xinjiang are rising and that China plans to keep teaching its residents a “correct” outlook on China, Xinhua news agency reported.
- President Xi said the Xinjiang policy was “correct” and had increased “happiness”
- China appears to be expanding secret detention facilities for more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims
- It says the camps are vocational training centres needed to tackle extremism
The comments come after a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which found China’s network of secret detention facilities appears to be expanding in Xinjiang.
China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims and claims of alleged forced labour abuses in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports that 1 million Muslims held in camps have been put to work.
China has repeatedly denied mistreating Uyghurs and says the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism, accusing what it calls anti-China forces of smearing its Xinjiang policy.
“The sense of gain, happiness, and security among the people of all ethnic groups [in Xinjiang] has continued to increase,” Mr Xi told a ruling Communist Party conference on Xinjiang held on Friday and Saturday, Xinhua reported.
Mr Xi said it was necessary to educate Xinjiang’s population on an understanding of the Chinese nation and guide “all ethnic groups on establishing a correct perspective on the country, history and nationality”.
“Practice has shown that the party’s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct” and it should be a long-term approach, he added.
The ASPI report estimated 16,000 mosques have been damaged or destroyed in Xinjiang, findings China’s foreign ministry denied.
“Alongside other coercive efforts to re-engineer Uyghur social and cultural life by transforming or eliminating Uyghurs’ language, music, homes and even diets, the Chinese Government’s policies are actively erasing and altering key elements of their tangible cultural heritage,” the ASPI report said.
Experts have described China’s actions in the region as cultural genocide.
Those living in Australia have shared their heartbreak at being separated from their loved ones and their fears for their wellbeing.
In July, the US-imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Uyghurs under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US Government to target human rights violators by freezing any US assets, banning US travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
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