The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday denounced the U.S. allegations on Xinjiang, urging it to stop using Xinjiang as a pretext to contain China.
In response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's claim at the International Religious Freedom Summit last year that China perpetrated "genocide" against the Uygurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said what Blinken said is in disregard of facts and full of ideological bias.
It degrades China's religious policies and seriously interferes in China's internal affairs, she noted.
She stressed that the Chinese government protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with law, and people of all ethnic groups enjoy full freedom of religious belief.
There are nearly 200 million religious believers and more than 380,000 clerical personnel in China, Mao Ning said, adding that in Xinjiang alone, there are over 24,000 mosques.
By contrast, 75 percent of American Muslims believe there is serious discrimination against Muslims in the American society. Mao Ning pointed out that the U.S. is in no position to lecture or point fingers at China and the allegation of "genocide" in Xinjiang is nothing but the lie of the century concocted by the U.S. side.
She noted that Xinjiang enjoys social stability, economic growth, ethnic solidarity, harmony among religions and better livelihoods. For more than 60 years since the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was established, the region's economy has grown 160 times and its Uygur population expanded from 2.2 million to about 12 million, with average life expectancy increasing from 30 to 74.7 years.
However, Mao Ning said the U.S. chooses to ignore facts and has been spreading disinformation about Xinjiang simply to create an excuse for containing China.
She urged the U.S. side to respect facts and stop interfering in China's internal affairs and containing China's development under the pretext of human rights, religion and ethnicity.