United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 6 virtually met with Uyghur Muslims who were previously detained in camps in the Chinese northwestern Xinjiang region.
According to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken wanted to meet the Uyghur internment camp survivors to hear their stories firsthand and to seek recommendations on how best to respond to the ongoing atrocities in the camps.
“This was something the secretary wanted to do, to provide him an opportunity to reaffirm the administration’s emphasis on human rights when it comes to our China policy and to reaffirm our engagement with individuals from groups the government of the People’s Republic of China has repressed in Xinjiang,” Price said at a press briefing.
In a statement, Price said that the meeting aimed to promote accountability for the Chinese government’s actions and to call for justice for victims and their families.
Blinken also met with advocates and relatives of those detained in the camps.
The U.S. has placed sanctions for its allegations of human rights abuses in the region, including visa restrictions and export restrictions.
“And as we deem appropriate, I suspect we’ll be employing additional tools going forward to hold to account those officials responsible for what has taken place there,” Price said.
China has repeatedly denied the accusations of human rights abuses, including forced labor and torture, in the Xinjiang region, despite numerous of credible reports. Chinese authorities have insisted that the camps were for vocational training to ensure security in the region.
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