Australia, New Zealand say clear evidence of rights abuses in China's Xinjiang

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand’s foreign ministers said on Tuesday there was clear evidence of human rights abuses in Xinjiang in China, and said they welcomed the sanctions imposed on Chinese officials by other Western nations.

In a joint statement, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said they were concerned about credible reports of abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

“In particular, there is clear evidence of severe human rights abuses that include restrictions on freedom of religion, mass surveillance, large-scale extra-judicial detentions, as well as forced labour and forced birth control, including sterilisation,” the ministers said.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials on Monday for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the first such coordinated Western action against Beijing under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

“We share these countries’ deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities,” Payne and Mahuta said.

Reporting by John Mair; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall