The Chinese embassy in Baghdad has responded to US accusations that China is committing human rights abuses against religious minorities in the Xinjiang region, accusing the US of "interference in China's internal affairs," Shafaq news agency reported.
The US embassy in Baghdad issued a statement on 5 January accusing the Chinese Communist Party of violating the rights of religious minorities in Xinjiang, inhabited by the Muslim Uyghur minority.
The Chinese embassy in Baghdad replied in a statement, blaming the US for: "Spreading rumours, attacking China and arbitrarily distorting its reputation."
The statement added: "The [US] statement is complete nonsense, and the US embassy's attempt to act as a proud teacher of human rights is hilarious. The Chinese side categorically rejects that."
Meanwhile, the Chinese statement claimed that: "The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is an integral part of China, and the core of the Xinjiang issue is the attempt by a small group of separatists to separate it from China through violence," explaining that this attempt "has resulted in the deaths and injuries of many innocent civilians, including Muslims."
In addition, the Chinese statement indicated: "The forces of terror and violence such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement extend their existence to Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries of Central Asia and the Middle East."
"They are conspiring with ISIS [Daesh] and Al-Qaeda to commit heinous terrorist crimes against the peoples and countries of the region," noting that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement was added to the list of international terrorist organisations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
China pointed out that the essence of the US statement is: "Self-evident, which is an overt interference in China's internal affairs and intentionally sowing seeds of discord in the friendly cooperative relations between China and the large Islamic countries, including Iraq."
Since 1949, China has controlled the region of East Turkestan, home of the Uyghur Turkic Muslim minority, naming it "Xinjiang", meaning "new frontier".
In August 2018, a United Nations Human Rights Committee reported that China is holding nearly one million Uyghur Muslims in secret camps in East Turkestan.
However, China says that the centres described by the international community as "concentration camps" are "vocational training centres" and aim to "purge the minds of the detainees of extremist ideas."
Official statistics indicate that there are 30 million Muslims in China, including 23 million Uyghurs, while unofficial reports estimate the number of Muslims at nearly 100 million.
For years, the issue of Uyghur Muslims has been a source of tension between China and Washington. Months ago, the US House of Representatives approved a draft resolution banning the import of goods produced in the Xinjiang region, after Beijing allegedly used Uyghur forced labour in production chains.