China foreign ministry says planned U.N. event on Xinjiang an insult

China foreign ministry says planned U.N. event on Xinjiang an insult

FILE PHOTO: Security guards stand at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Huocheng County

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that the use of the United Nations as a platform for a virtual event on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang was an insult to the institution.

China has urged U.N. member states not to attend the virtual event, planned by Germany, the United States and Britain.

“The U.S. has banded up with several countries, abused the United Nations’ resources and platform, and smeared and attacked China to serve it’s own interests,” she said at a daily news conference in Beijing.

“This is total blasphemy against the United Nations,” she said.

China has said the organizers of the virtual U.N. event, which is due to be held Wednesday, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs”.

Some Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labour.

Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centres to combat religious extremism.

(Reporting by David Kirton; Writing by Gabriel Crossley and David Kirton; Editing by Alex Richardson)