China rejects ‘Stain of the century’ criticism for its persecution of Uighurs

(Cartoon courtesy: Uyghur Bulletin/Twitter)

(, Jul19’19) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has on Jul 18 called China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority the “stain of the century”, prompting an angry response from Beijing. Addressing a State Department-hosted Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference, Pompeo also accused Beijing of pressuring countries not to attend the gathering, reported Jul 19.

“China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time,” Pompeo was reported to have told participants at the end of the three-day conference in Washington, DC. “Is that consistent with the guarantee of religious belief that is found directly in the Chinese constitution?”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discusses “the state of religious freedom around the world” in an address to the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2019. ( Photo courtes: REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert)

Pompeo has said more than 100 foreign delegations were invited to the conference and congratulated countries that defied Chinese pressure to stay away.

“We know the Chinese government called countries specifically to discourage participation. We cannot prove the exact number they successfully impacted,” Pompeo was quoted as saying.

China has rejected the religious persecution accusations. Addressing a news briefing in Beijing after the White House ceremony, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has said “this situation of so-called ‘religious persecution’ does not exist.”

China’s official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying Jul 18 that China wanted the United States to “stop using the issue of religion to interfere in other countries’ affairs.”

UN human rights officials have confirmed that around a million ethnic Muslim minorities, mostly Uighurs, are being incarcerated in detention centres across the region of Xinjiang against their will under brutal conditions that are especially directed against their religious faith.


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