US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday met Uyghur survivors of internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region, in a visit aimed at highlighting Beijing’s alleged “genocide” against the Muslim minority group.
America’s top diplomat met seven survivors, advocates and relatives of people still detained in Xinjiang, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a readout of the meeting.
The meeting’s purpose was to help show US commitment to “calling for an end to the People’s Republic of China’s ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang”, Price said.
“The United States will continue to place human rights at the forefront of our China policy and will always support the voices of activists, survivors, and family members of victims who courageously speak out against these atrocities.”
Price did not name the meeting participants.
Rights groups believe at least one million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in the northwestern region, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labor.
China vehemently denies the allegations of genocide and rights abuses.
Its foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the alleged “abuses, atrocities and genocide… cannot be pinned on China”.
“US lies have long been exposed by the real truth of stability and prosperity in Xinjiang, where people live and work in peace and contentment,” he told reporters in Beijing.
Beijing denies it has thrust Uyghurs into forced labor camps, insisting they are in training programs, work schemes and better education which have helped stamp out extremism in the region.