The United States said on Tuesday it is “appalled” by “jarring” photographic evidence of China’s alleged widespread human rights abuses against its minority Muslim Uyghur and other Turkic populations.
“This new reporting further adds to an already damning body of evidence of the PRC’s atrocities in Xinjiang,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters, referring to the Chinese government.
“Despite increasing public awareness and strong calls for accountability, the PRC government continues to deny any wrongdoing. We’re deeply concerned by the PRC’s failure to acknowledge and to stop these atrocities and to transparently address the course of concerns raised by the international community,” he said.
He further called on Beijing to immediately release “all those arbitrarily detained,” and to further “end mass detention, torture, forced sterilization and the use of forced labor.”
Photos revealed by a BBC investigation indicate China has a “highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape,” the British public broadcaster reported.
Over 5,000 photos were reportedly gathered during a hack into the digital network of Xinjiang’s police force. The images were later sent to the BBC, which took months to verify them before they were released on Tuesday.
China denied the report and photographic evidence, claiming it was “disinformation.”
“Pathetic for the media, in cahoots with the notorious rumour monger, to once again spread disinformation about Xinjiang,” claimed China’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Zheng Zeguang.
At least 1 million Uyghurs are estimated to be kept against their will in what China calls “vocational training centers.” But critics say the places are meant for indoctrination, abuse and torture.
The U.S. has accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity for its actions against its Uyghur and other Turkic minorities. Despite the growing amount of evidence, Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, refuting the allegations as “lies and (a) political virus.”