USA bill on China`s Xinjiang violates worldwide law, regional official says

Rushan Abbas

While Chinese authorities insist the detentions are a form of vocational training, classified documents recently leaked to a consortium of news organisations revealed a deliberate strategy to lock up Muslim minorities in large-scale, high-security detention camps for a minimum of one year even though they had not committed any crimes.

Human rights groups and former detainees have said conditions in the camps are poor, with inmates subject to psychological and physical abuse.

Estimates publicised in foreign media were "pure fabrication", Xinjiang's governor, Shohrat Zakir, told reporters in Beijing, however, without giving details.

Shohrat Zakir, the governor of the Chinese far western region, Xinjiang told reporters in Beijing on Monday that a recent United States measure on Xinjiang is a severe violation of worldwide law and gross interference in China's internal affairs.

Governor Shohrat Zakir also hit out at Western criticism of the camps and said the United States had launched a smear campaign against Xinjiang.

He said the mosques in Xinjiang had been equipped with basic needs such as running water, electricity, natural gas and new facilities such as LED screens, air conditioners, drinking water facilities, shoe covering and automatic dispensers.

Mr Zakir, who is deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Communist Party, said any attempt to disable Xinjiang is doomed to fail.

The region and local people strongly condemn and firmly oppose this superpower hegemony, he said. "Will there be a happy life for people of all ethnic groups here?"

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The bill urges the U.S. government to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses.

Training programs will be tailored to meet trainees' needs, and the periods of programs will vary based on the courses, the official said. They said they worked long hours for low pay.

In October, at a hearing in Washington held by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), witnesses including Zenz highlighted reports of a widespread system of forced labor in the XUAR, which requires Uyghurs and other ethnic minority Muslims to work in the production of textiles, food, and light manufacturing.

Officials have not said how many people are in the centers.

Claims about the camps are hard to verify as China only allows periodic supervised visits and gives little information on their operations.

The Uighur Bill, which was passed 407-1 in the Democratic-controlled House, requires the U.S. president to condemn abuses against Muslims and calls for the closure of the camps in Xinjiang.

"If they released everybody like he said, then my family members should have been released as well", he said.

Reported for RFA's Uyghur Service by Gulchehra Hoja. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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