China to US: Stop using Xinjiang issues to interfere in our internal affairs
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 31 December 2020 3:46 PM
China has strongly urged US politicians not to interfere in its domestic affairs through using issues in the Chinese region of Xinjiang after Washington demanded the release of a Uighur physician charged with terrorism.
At a regular news conference in Beijing Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on the US "to respect facts, stop making lies to smear China, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues."
The ethnic minority of Uighurs â€” who make up about 45 percent of the population in Xinjiang â€” have long accused the government in Beijing of cultural, religious, and economic discrimination.
China rejects claims of mistreating the Uighurs, saying it has in fact been taking anti-terrorism measures against separatists seeking to join takfiri outfits such as al-Qaeda.
The Chinese government also accuses what it describes as exiled separatist groups of planning attacks in resource-rich Xinjiang, which is strategically located on the borders of Central Asia.
Beijing says it has set up "vocational education and employment training centers" in Xinjiang to tackle underdevelopment and a lack of employment in the area, but the West describes them as concentration camps.
Wang's comments came just a day after Washington called for the release of Gulshan Abbas, claiming that China had sentenced the retired Uighur medical doctor to 20 years in prison because of her family members' human rights activism in the US.
China's foreign ministry spokesman rejected the claims, saying she was jailed for committing terrorism-related crimes.
"Gulshan Abbas is sentenced to jail by Chinese judicial authorities for crimes of participating in a terrorist organization, aiding terrorist activities and assembling crowds to disrupt the social order. China is a country with rule of law, where criminals must be held accountable," Wang added.
The Chinese government has repeatedly urged the US and other foreign states critical of its internal policies to stop interfering in its affairs, especially those related to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang.
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