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China offering ‘free vocational training’ to Muslims in camps: official

China offering ‘free vocational training’ to Muslims in camps: official
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China defended its detention of Muslims in internment camps Tuesday as helping them "pursue a modern, civilized life," according to The Associated Press.

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In a Xinhua News Agency report, Xinjiang Gov. Shohrat Zakir said the camps are trying to steer China's Central Asian Muslim minorities away from extremism with Mandarin lessons and vocational training.

“It’s become a general trend for them to expect and pursue a modern, civilized life,” Zakir said, according to AP's report.

He went on to explain that "trainees" are paid a basic income and provided with food and shelter during their training.

A United Nations panel estimated that about 1 million Uighurs, Kazahks and other minorities are being arbitrarily detained in internment camps in the far west region of Xinjiang. China has denied this claim, arguing that they are "re-education centers," not internment camps.

Human rights group Amnesty International released a statement Tuesday slamming the Chinese governor's arguments. 

“The governor’s remarks fly in the face of all available evidence and are an insult to both those suffering in the camps and the families of those missing," Patrick Poon of Amnesty said.

"No amount of spin can hide the fact that the Chinese authorities are undertaking a campaign of systematic repression in the XUAR [Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region] with up to one million people arbitrarily detained. The mass internment camps are primarily places of punishment and torture, not learning. There are consistent reports of beatings, food deprivation and solitary confinement. This is having a devastating toll on the lives of up to one million people."

The Trump administration was reportedly considering sanctioning China for their treatment of Muslim minorities in September.