United States 'deeply troubled' by alleged Chinese crackdown in Xinjiang

Riders compete for a goat carcass during a Buzkashi game in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China earlier this month

The Republic of China has urged the United Nations to respect its sovereignty after UN's human rights chief highlighted "deeply disturbing" allegations of mass detentions of Muslim Uighur minorities in Xinjiang.

China said on Wednesday that it would resolutely oppose any USA move to impose sanctions against its officials and companies to punish Beijing for the alleged human rights violations against Uygur Muslims in the volatile Xinjiang province.

"There are credible reports out there that many, many thousands have been detained in detention centers since April 2017, and the numbers are fairly significant from what we can tell so far", Nauert said.

As Alexander Lukin, director of the East Asian and the SCO Studies Center of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, the USA doesn't care about minorities - they use Muslim theme as an excuse to put more pressure on China.

Citing unnamed current and former officials, the Times reported the administration has been discussing sanctions over the human rights issue for months at the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department. "But I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the United States government may take", Nauert said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a news conference on Monday that the group Human Rights Watch is prejudiced against China, always distorts facts and tries to cause trouble.

But he said that various ethnic groups in the region have a common desire for social stability, and that the Chinese government guarantees freedom of faith based on law.

The economic sanctions over human rights violations in China would be a first for the Trump administration.

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images A demonstrator wears a mask painted with the colors of the flag of East Turkestan, home to millions of Uighur Muslims under surveillance by the Chinese government.

It is estimated that in the area, one million are now detained in re-education camps where they are forced to learn Mandarin and sing the praises of the Chinese Communist Party.

On Monday, the new United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet became the latest high profile global figure to speak out against alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch released a report estimating the number of detainees could be as high as one million and that "w$3 ithin these secretive facilities, those held are forced to undergo political indoctrination for days, months, and even over a year".

The report follows recent allegations that China has detained roughly one million Uighurs and subjecting another two million to re-education programs.

But the Chinese government strongly denied the figures, saying there was no mass imprisonment or "arbitrary detention".

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