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US says Xinjiang is essentially an 'open-air prison'

US says Xinjiang is essentially an 'open-air prison'
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A top State Department official slammed China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims on Wednesday, accusing Beijing of turning the Xinjiang province into an "open-air prison" during a press conference.

Reuters reported that Daniel Nadel, a spokesman for the agency's Office of International Religious Freedom, accused Beijing of installing surveillance measures around Xinjiang and turning "the entire region into an open-air prison."

"People's movements are closely tracked. You have minders who have been assigned to live with Uyghurs to keep tabs on them. You have people going to the market who have to check in every time they go to a different market stall," he said Wednesday at a press conference.

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His remarks coincided with the release of a State Department report on Chinese oppression of Uyghurs, which was released Wednesday and described Beijing's arrest and detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs as well as members of other minority groups.

"Authorities subjected individuals to forced disappearance, political indoctrination, torture, physical and psychological abuse, including forced sterilization and sexual abuse, forced labor, and prolonged detention without trial because of their religion and ethnicity," reads the State Department report.

The U.S., Canada and United Kingdom have all described the situation in Xinjiang as a genocide, though the U.S. did so a day before President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE took office in January in what was seen at the time as a move by the Trump administration aimed at hampering the incoming Biden administration's relations with Beijing.

A March joint statement from the State Department and the foreign ministers of Canada and the U.K. cited "human rights violations and abuses" in the region but did not use the word "genocide" to describe China's actions.