US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Photo: IC)
China's Foreign Ministry slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comments on Xinjiang's counter-terrorism efforts, saying he distorted the facts, interfered in China's internal affairs and used double standards on counter-terrorism.
At a press conference on Monday, the ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to Pompeo's recent comments on vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang, which Geng said exposed the US side's "hidden untellable political motives."
Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs and brook no interference by any foreign force, he noted.
The remarks came after Pompeo urged Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan at a Sunday meeting to resist China's demands to repatriate Uyghur people, who claimed they had fled from the "detention center" in Xinjiang, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
"Pompeo's remarks on Chinese internal affairs are groundless. I would suggest to Mike Pompeo to take time to study real Chinese policies and their implementation in support of ethnic minorities and freedom of religious belief in the entire country," Fabio Massimo Parenti, a professor at the International Institute Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, told the Global Times on Monday.
Parenti was among a group of foreign delegates who visited Xinjiang in September and got impressed by the region's development.
Talking about the motive behind Pompeo's remarks, he said that it's a geopolitical and dangerous game played by the US.
Despite Pompeo's continuous accusations against China over Xinjiang, many countries, including the five countries he tried to persuade at the Sunday meeting, have acknowledged China's efforts in developing Xinjiang and showed their support.
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan are among the 50 countries that signed a joint letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in July, positively evaluating human rights developments in Xinjiang and voicing their support to China's policies in Xinjiang.
In June, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov stressed that Kyrgyzstan firmly supports the measures taken by the Chinese government in safeguarding peace and stability in Xinjiang and cracking down on extremism.
In talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing in March, Kazakh Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov said Kazakhstan understands and supports the measures taken in Xinjiang to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism and to ensure regional security and stability.
China's efforts, such as establishing vocational education and training centers, are essentially the same as those taken by other countries, including the US, in the fight against terrorism and de-radicalization, Geng said.
He stressed that, at present, Xinjiang is enjoying an overall stable situation, good economic development, harmony among ethnic groups, and sees no terrorist attacks in nearly three years.
These achievements would not be denied or obliterated just from the judgments of some people on the US side, Geng said.