US presses China to release detained Muslims from internment camps

US presses China to release detained Muslims from internment camps

The U.S. on Tuesday called on China to release Muslims detained in internment camps while appearing before a U.N. human rights panel.

U.S. chargé d'affaires Mark Cassayre told China to "immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals" being detained in for their faith, The Washington Post reported.

Canada, Japan, Australia and several other countries all also called on China to end the camps.

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China defended its mass detentions.

"We will not accept the politically-driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases," said the head of the Chinese delegation, Le Yucheng.

Le reiterated his government's assertions that the camps help fight the spread of Islamist extremism, saying that "trainees" who used to be "controlled by extremist ideology" have turned from their old ways inside the detention centers.

"This protects the human rights of the vast majority, while also saving these people," Le said of the camps, according to The Wall Street Journal. "It's another important contribution of China's to the global counterterror field."

Three months ago, China denied the existence of the mass detention facilities before another U.N. panel, and denied that they are being used for political indoctrination.

China has since changed its tune and admitted to the camps and the brainwashing, but have credited them with ending violent terrorist incidents in China. 

Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump privately asking aides if Pence is loyal: report Haley honored with 'Woman of Valor' award at Independent Women's Forum gala Ben Shapiro mocks David Hogg over ‘shark attack’ tweet MORE slammed China over "the largest internment of civilians in the world today," saying detainees are "tortured ... forced to renounce their religion and to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party.

In September, reports emerged that the Trump administration may sanction China over the mass detainments.