Britain sides with Turkey in slamming China over Uighur treatment

Countries should take an “objective” view of Chinese policy in Xinjiang and stop saying the wrong thing, China’s government said on Wednesday, after concern at China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighurs and other Muslims was raised by Turkey and Britain.

The issue came up as U.N. Human Rights Council opened its main annual session. Western countries are looking to Turkey and other members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to spotlight what rights groups call internment camps in Xinjiang, a remote western region of China.

China says they are re-education and training facilities that have been highly successful in stopping attacks previously blamed on Islamist militants and separatists.

Britain was the only country joining Turkey in raising the issue at Monday’s U.N. session in Geneva.

Speaking in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said certain people from Turkey have recently been “neglecting the facts” about Xinjiang and making irresponsible, “nasty” remarks.

“Turkey and other countries are very clear about the direct threat posed by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement to Xinjiang,” Lu said, referring to the militant group China has blamed for previous attacks in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang has taken steps to make sure people live within the law and have normal lives, to avoid them becoming involved in terror, and these measures have been effective for the last 25 months as there have been no attacks,” he added.

“I think this accomplishment is something anyone who lacks prejudice ought to recognise,” Lu said.

Turkey has itself been a victim of terror and separatist forces for a long time, he added.

“But some people in Turkey do not see the basic facts, and keep besmirching China’s counter-terror and de-radicalization efforts, slandering the steps taken by China’s Xinjiang autonomous regional government. It can only be said that there is a hidden agenda,” Lu said.

“We urge the individual countries you mention to objectively view China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization steps, stop making mistaken comments and take actual measures to protect international counter-terrorism cooperation,” he said.