Chinese government on Thursday rebuked a group of 22 countries that condemned its oppression of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the government had lodged “solemn’’ protests with the countries that signed the letter.
It said that the joint letter was calling on China to close its internment camps for Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
The spokesman, Geng Shuang, said the letter represented a “violent’’ interference in China’s internal affairs.
He said “we urge these countries to respect the facts, abandon prejudice, and abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.’’
He added that those countries should stop politicising human rights issues and using the issue of Xinjiang to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
The letter, signed by countries including Britain, Germany and Japan, was addressed to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,Michelle Bachelet.
It calls on China to stop the arbitrary incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and allow for freedom of religion.
An estimated 1.5 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Huis and others have been placed in political education camps, according to rights activists and foreign governments.
China calls the camps “education and training centres’’ and says they are needed to curb terrorism and religious extremism.