China asks Pompeo not to interfere in its internal matters.

Mike Pompeo, the United States Secretary of State, tamped down on U.S. demand to end China’s continued detention of Uighur Muslims. The Secretary of State used the word “abhorrent” to describe how America perceives the large camps set up in Xinjiang. It is believed one million Chinese Uighur citizens are held captive in the camps.

Pompeo reacted on March 27 after he met a Uighur survivor and her relatives, all of whom were once incarcerated in the Xinjiang camps. The U.S. State Department issued a statement, urging the Chinese administration to immediately release those who were detained in these camps along with their family members. The top American diplomat met Mihrigul Tursun, a Uighur who had earlier spoken publicly about what she described as Beijing’s torture in Chinese prisons specially meted out to the Chinese ethnic group. Tursun claimed she was forcefully separated from her children and kept in a small cell with 60 other women for company. All camp inmates went through beatings and electrocution at the camps. According to the State Department, Pompeo also interacted with three other Uighurs whose relatives were being held by the Chinese authorities. A report tabled by the United Nations described these activities as Beijing’s attempts to forcefully integrate the mainly Muslim Uighur citizens into the numerically and culturally dominant Han culture.

Many human rights organizations have confirmed the Chinese Government has confiscated copies of the Qur’an from the Uighurs. They were also forced to eat pork and drink intoxicants like alcohol, all forbidden in their Islamic faith.

China, for its part, denies all allegations elaborating on mass detention. It claimed what are being described as camps are actually educational centers set up as part of Beijing’s efforts to fight Islamic extremism in Xinjiang province’s northwestern areas. Beijing also set up a diplomatic counter-offensive, fiercely criticizing Pompeo for his actions. According to the Chinese Government, the camps can only be described as "vocational training centers." Such centers, as per Beijing, offer not only much-needed employment in Xinjiang but also language classes. Such activities steer the local Muslims away from having an extremist outlook. Geng Shuang, the spokesman of the foreign ministry in China, said the comments made by Pompeo are not only “extremely absurd" but also a gross interference in the internal matters of China.

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