China has accused the European Union (EU) of imposing “unacceptable” preconditions for a visit to Xinjiang province. In a statement, the Chinese mission to the EU said Beijing has also repeatedly invited diplomats from the EU and its member states stationed in China to visit Xinjiang.
“However, the trip did not materialize due to preconditions set by the European side, which are unacceptable for any sovereign state,” the statement said.
The mission also warned that any interference in China’s internal affairs would meet with a strong and resolute response.
The Chinese mission’s statement came just hours after the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s foreign and security policy agency, said the bloc had taken “a firm stand “on human rights in Xinjiang and would introduce new due diligence rules to ensure companies identify and address the risks of forced labor in their supply chains.
The comments were included in a written response to a February petition urging EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to investigate the case of Ilham Tohti, an outspoken Uyghur economics professor who was jailed for separatism in 2014, and the treatment of other Uyghur activists.
The Chinese mission rejected the EEAS remarks, saying the statement was “a total disregard for the facts and confused black and white”.
“We express our strong disapproval and our firm opposition. The document, listing what the EU has done in Xinjiang in recent years, is clear evidence of its interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of so-called Xinjiang-related issues. and fully exposes its hypocrisy on human rights issues, ”the mission said.
He said the European side is “not in a position to bring unfounded accusations”.
“Over the past decades, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, Xinjiang has made unprecedented and historic progress in economic and social development, human rights and human well-being. No one knows better than the 25 million plus inhabitants of Xinjiang about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the well-being of the people, ”the statement said.
Xinjiang is a province in communist China where around two million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained since 2016. They have reportedly been held in detention centers across Xinjiang. Many former detainees claim to have been subjected to attempts at indoctrination, physical abuse and even sterilization.
However, China routinely denies such mistreatment and claims that the camps provide vocational training.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)