Beijing refutes allegations of sexual abuse made by Uyghur women: Report

In January, the Chinese Embassy's Twitter account was suspended for a tweet saying Uyghur women were "baby-making machines" before Beijing set up its camp system
Xu Guixiang, a deputy spokesperson for the Xinjiang regional government, drinks from a cup near a slide refuting claims of genocide during a press conference in Beijing, China.(AP Photo)
Xu Guixiang, a deputy spokesperson for the Xinjiang regional government, drinks from a cup near a slide refuting claims of genocide during a press conference in Beijing, China.(AP Photo)
Published on Mar 03, 2021 02:44 PM IST
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ANI | , Beijing

As the number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide grows, Beijing is focusing on discrediting Uyghur witnesses behind the recent report of sexual abuse, reported FR24 News.

Earlier in February, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) had reported on the abuses of women's rights in Xinjiang's 're-education camps' where women were subjected to sexual abuse, modern-day slavery and forced sterilization.

To refute the report, during a regular daily press briefing last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin held up images of witnesses who described sexual abuse in Xinjiang.

China also released explicit details about Uyghur women's fertility, sex and STDs as part of a campaign to combat global pressure on their treatment of the minority group, reported FR24 News.

Chinese authorities named women, leaked what they say is private medical data and information about women's fertility, and accused some of having affairs and another of having a sexually transmitted disease.

The campaign included briefings lasting several hours, with images of residents of Xinjiang and statements by family members refuting charges of sexual abuse.

James Millward, professor of Chinese history at Georgetown University and expert on Xinjiang politics, said, "One of the reasons the Communist Party is so concerned about these testimonies from women is that it undermines the premise. Initial of what they are doing there, this is the fight against terrorism?"

"The fact that there are so many women in the camps... who don't have the slightest appearance of being violent people just shows how far it has nothing to do with terrorism," added Millward.

In January, the Chinese Embassy's Twitter account was suspended for a tweet saying Uyghur women were "baby-making machines" before Beijing set up its camp system, reported FR24 News.

"The biological, reproductive, and gendered aspect of this is especially horrible to the world," said Millward. China "seems to have recognized this ... Now you see them trying to respond in this awkward way."

Meanwhile, China declined to provide data on the number of people in the camps. Beijing had initially denied the very existence of the camps, but now claims that they are educational and vocational centers and that everyone has "graduated."

Uyghurs make up most of the one million people who the UN estimates have been held in camps in Xinjiang as part of what the central government calls a campaign against terrorism.

Also, Beijing has rejected calls for an independent UN investigation into Xinjiang's internment program. Journalists and diplomats are not allowed access to the camps outside of tightly controlled government tours.

Joe Biden's administration has called China's treatment of Uyghurs genocide, a position recently adopted by Canada and the Netherlands.

China faces sanctions such as a ban on US purchases of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang and calls from some Western lawmakers to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

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