The State Department on Wednesday hammered China over its human rights record, saying abuses of its Muslim minority population had not been seen “since the 1930s.”
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoState Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE also outlined human rights abuses in Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and China in the agency’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” but told reporters that China’s actions put it “in a league of its own."
"In just 2018, China intensified its campaign of detaining Muslim minority groups at record levels," Pompeo said.
"Today, more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims are interned in reeducation camps designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities," he said, adding that the government is also increasing its persecution against Christians, Tibetans and anyone who advocates change in government.
“For me, you haven’t seen things like this since the 1930s,” said Michael Kozak, the head of the State Department’s human rights and democracy bureau, Reuters reported.
“Rounding up, in some estimations ... in the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA," he said, according to the news service. "It’s just remarkably awful.”
Kozak also reportedly pushed back on comments from the governor of Xinjiang and the government in Beijing, which have maintained that they are overseeing border schools for the region’s Uighurs and other Muslim populations to prevent extremism. International observers, however, claim the centers are more akin to concentration camps.
“That does not match the facts that we and others are saying, but at least we’re starting to make them realize there is a lot of international scrutiny on this,” Kozak said, according to Reuters. “It is one of the most serious human rights violations in the world today.”
The State Department’s report says the Chinese government has ramped up its detention efforts of Muslims, possibly holding as many as 2 million people.