US to co-host event at UN on China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs minority

Reuters , Monday 23 Sep 2019

People hold signs protesting China
People hold signs protesting China's treatment of the Uighur people, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 8, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS)

The United States will co-host an event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on China's treatment of Muslim minorities including ethnic Uighurs, the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Monday.

The event on Tuesday will be hosted by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and will feature personal stories of victims, the statement said. It did not identify other hosts.

"China’s repression campaign includes, among other abuses, the mass detention of more than one million individuals in internment camps since April 2017," the State Department said.

U.N. experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in the remote Xinjiang region. Beijing describes complexes in Xinjiang as "vocational training centers" helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

Washington has been weighing how to confront China on the issue at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York this week. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged all countries in the world to resist China's demands to repatriate Uighurs.

Pompeo said Beijing's campaign in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang was an "attempt to erase its own citizens."

Pompeo and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence could also address China's treatment of the Uighurs at events this week, but a final decision on any U.S. remarks "is expected to hinge on how the trade issue is going," an administration official said last week. China and the United States are fighting a trade war and are set to resume trade talks in October.

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