Blinken Speaks With Uyghurs To Hear About Conditions In Chinese Camps
July 07, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met virtually on July 6 with seven Uyghur Muslims, including some who had been detained at reeducation camps in China, to hear about their experiences and seek advice on how to pressure China to end the repression.
The State Department said Blinken wanted to hear directly from the former detainees, relatives of detainees, and advocates for the Uyghurs.
China has been under international criticism and hit with sanctions for detaining more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities for political reeducation in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
China insists the camps are "vocational education centers" aimed at helping people steer clear of terrorism.
"The secretary thought it important to meet with these individuals to hear firsthand their stories, to hear firsthand their impression of the ongoing atrocities in Xinjiang and the internment of a million Uyghurs," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Price noted that both the Biden and Trump administrations have termed the campaign in Xinjiang as "genocide" and slapped sanctions on China for human rights abuses.
"America has spoken out very clearly and consistently about the abuses, about the atrocities, about the ongoing genocide that is taking place in Xinjiang," Price said. "And, as we deem appropriate, I suspect we'll be employing additional tools going forward to hold to account those officials responsible for what has taken place there."
The United States has steadily ramped up pressure on China over several issues in addition to the repression in Xinjiang. It has also strongly objected to the treatment of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong and demanded that China allow the World Health Organization to fully investigate the origins of the coronavirus.
Based on reporting by AP
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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