U.S. increases pressure on China about persecution of Uyghur Muslims

US President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping | Thomas Peter-Pool  Getty Images

US President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping | Thomas Peter-Pool Getty Images

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, a representative for the United Kingdom issued a statement on behalf of 23 countries raising concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

China's mass detention and surveillance of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang province came under fire at the United Nations Tuesday, with 23 nations - mostly western - backing a British statement condemning Beijing's human rights record.

Criticism has grown over China's interment of more than one million Uighurs in camps.

China has been widely condemned for setting up internment camps in the western region of Xinjiang that it describes as "vocational training centres" to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

Also at the meeting, more than 30 countries, including Pakistan, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Cuba and Nicaragua, made speeches praising China's tremendous efforts and achievements in promotion and protection of human rights.

Mr. Chair, I'll close with a question: What measures should the Chinese government undertake to address the concerns raised in CERD's Concluding Observations regarding restrictions on the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to freely participate in cultural life? In a report earlier this year to counter criticism of internment camps and other oppressive security in the traditionally Islamic region, China said it had arrested almost 13,000 people it described as "terrorists" and had broken up hundreds of "terrorist gangs" in Xinjiang since 2014.

"Now safety and security have returned to Xinjiang and fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded", Rybakov said.

They said no resolution on the Uighurs has been proposed for adoption by the General Assembly's human rights committee, but Pierce said: "This will not be the last we've heard of this important issue".

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More than 20 nations including Japan and the USA are calling on China to stop detaining Uighurs and other Muslims.

"We also appreciate China's contributions to the global human rights cause", it added, while criticizing the "politicization" of the issue of human rights at the UN.

"China firmly opposes and rejects it", Zhang said.

As the United States and 22 other countries at the United Nations called out China for the persecution of Uighurs Muslims, Beijing on Tuesday said Washington raising the issue is not "helpful" to resolve the matter pertaining to the trade.

"No country is ideal on human rights".

Zhang indicated the Uighur issue could also impact U.S.

He said there was "progress" in the trade talks. But he acknowledged of the US criticism of China on the United Worldwide locations: "I create not mediate its kindly for having a correct respond to the protest of exchange talks".

USA ambassador Craft, asked about the possible impact on trade talks, replied: "Well I would be standing here regardless if it was China, wherever it is".

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