China has accused the European Union (EU) of imposing “unacceptable” preconditions on a visit to Xinjiang province. In a statement, the Chinese mission to the EU said Beijing has also invited diplomats from the EU and its member states posted in China to visit Xinjiang many times.
“However, the trip has not materialized due to preconditions set by the EU side, which are unacceptable to any sovereign state,” the statement read.
The mission also warned that any interference in China”s internal affairs will be met with a strong and resolute response.
The Chinese mission’s statement came only hours after the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s foreign and security policy agency, said the bloc has taken “a firm stance” on human rights in Xinjiang and would introduce new due diligence rules to ensure European companies identify and address forced labour risks in their supply chains.
The comments were included in a written response to a February petition urging the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to investigate the case of Ilham Tohti, an outspoken Uyghur economic professor who was jailed for separatism in 2014, and the treatment of other Uyghur activists.
The Chinese mission rejected the EEAS’ remarks, saying the statement is in “total disregard of facts and confounding black and white”.
“We express our strong disapproval of and firm opposition to it. The document, listing what the EU has done on Xinjiang in recent years, is clear evidence of its interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of the so-called Xinjiang-related issues and fully exposes its hypocrisy on human rights issues,” the mission said.
It contended that the EU side is in “no position to make groundless accusations”.
“Over the past few decades, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, Xinjiang has made unprecedented and historic progress in economic and social development, human rights and people’s well being. No one knows better than the 25 million-plus Xinjiang people about Xinjiang’s human rights situation and people’s well being,” the statement read.
Xinjiang is a province in Communist China where an estimated two million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained since 2016. They are believed to have been placed in detention centres across Xinjiang. Many former detainees allege they were subjected to attempted indoctrination, physical abuse and even sterilisation.
However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)