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U.S. says China’s treatment of Muslim minority worst abuses ‘since the 1930s’

The US State Department on Wednesday released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which outlined human rights abuses in countries like Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and China, with State Department officials singling out the latter as the worst performer.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that China is “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,” and another department official stated that China’s persecution of the Muslim minority in its Xinjiang region is something not seen “since the 1930s,” an apparent reference to persecutions that took place in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. “Rounding up, in some estimations … in the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA. It’s just remarkably awful,” the official explained.

China has consistently denied allegations of human rights abuses against its predominantly Muslim Uyghur population. On Tuesday, a Chinese official had described China’s reeducation camps for Uyghurs as ‘boarding schools’ rather than ‘concentration camps.’ On Thursday, China issued a full rebuttal of the US State Department report, in which it criticized the US government’s own human rights record, saying that the freedom of the press in the US “has come under unprecedented attack.” China also advised the US to “take a hard look at its own domestic human rights record, and first take care of its own affairs.”

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