‘Don't care about truth’: China slams ‘preposterous’ claims

China's foreign minister Wang Yi has hit out at "fake" media coverage of the Xinjiang region, and the treatment of Uyghurs made to work in its highly-controversial re-education camps.

At his annual press conference during China's National People's Congress, Mr Wang lambasted Western politicians who "choose to believe the lies" surrounding the western Chinese province.

The US, Canada and The Netherlands have all recognised China's actions in Xinjiang as genocide, and while Australia is yet to, there is mounting pressure in the Senate for such a declaration to be made.

The Morrison government has repeatedly raised concerns over the treatment of Muslim minorities in the region, while Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne last month called for UN intervention after a BBC investigation brought to light disturbing allegations of widespread sexual abuse in the camps.

Yet on Sunday, Mr Wang rubbished the Western perception of Xinjiang, insisting China was falling victim to those who "do not care about the truth".

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a press conference.
Wang Yi dismissed repeated Western coverage of Xinjiang as "fake news". Source: Getty (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

"The claim that there is 'genocide' in Xinjiang could not be more preposterous," he said.

"It is just a rumour fabricated with ulterior motives and a thorough lie."

Mr Wang argued Xinjiang was in fact prospering, and Beijing's work in the province had contributed to social and economic growth.

"Some Western politicians choose to believe in the lies made up by a few instead of listening to the voices of over 25 million Xinjiang people of various ethnic groups," he said.

"They choose to dance with a few anti-China forces in their clumsy dramas instead of acknowledging the basic fact that Xinjiang has been making progress.

"They're only interested in political manoeuvring and creating the so-called Xinjiang-related issues to undermine security and stability in Xinjiang and hold back China's development."

Mr Wang called on China's detractors to visit Xinjiang in a way "many foreign friends" had done so before in a bid to set the record straight.

"Seeing is believing. It is the best way to debunk rumours."

China continues denial of mistreatment of Uyghurs

Beijing has repeatedly hit out at foreign interference in what it deems "internal matters" such as the handling of Xinjiang's Muslim minorities.

China has categorically denied any forms of abuse inside its labour camps which have housed more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities to date.

However, China continues to face widespread condemnation for the camps, with allegations of mental and physical torture in the facilities rife, while inhabitants are forced to learn Mandarin and criticise and renounce their faith.

A guard watchtower along a perimeter fence of a vocational skills education centre in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China.
More than one million Uyghur Muslim minorities have been housed in the camps. Source: Reuters (Thomas Peter / reuters)

Beijing stresses the camps are for “vocational training” purposes and primarily tackle poverty in the once autonomous region.

China’s control over the region has tightened in the past two decades, and in recent years has reached new levels with President Xi Jinping desperate to come down hard on “violent terrorism”.

More recent terrorism incidents, including the 2014 Kunming massacre which saw 31 civilians killed in a knife attack at a train station in China’s southwest, have only prompted further action in Xinjiang after links to separatists.

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