September 1, 2018 / 3:37 AM / 2 months ago

Chinese paper blames West for encouraging Xinjiang extremists

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Turbulence in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang has been caused by “external factors”, a state-run newspaper said Saturday in an editorial responding to calls by a group of U.S. lawmakers for sanctions on Chinese officials.

“Western accusations of Xinjiang governance seriously misled the extremists, making them believe they were launching religious Jihad and won sympathy and support from Western and international society,” said the editorial in the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.

“Some forces have slandered China’s governing efforts” in Xinjiang, the editorial said, accusing a “West-centered (value) system” of making “empty statements about human rights regardless of the purpose and effect of Xinjiang governance and the grim reality it targets.”

“Such empty talk inspires extremists, which meets the purposes of some Western politicians trying to undermine the governance achievements in Xinjiang and push the region into turmoil,” the editorial said.

Whether Xinjiang governance abuses human rights must be judged by whether its results safeguard the interests of the majority in the region, it continued.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers called for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against minority Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, saying it was being turned into a “high-tech police state.”

On Thursday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing that the United States did “not have the right” to make “unwarranted criticism” of China’s policies toward ethnic minorities.

A United Nations human rights panel this month said it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China were held in what resembled a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”

China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

Hundreds have died in unrest there in recent years.

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix grammar in first paragraph)

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim Coghill

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