Chinese ambassador dismisses Penny Wong’s Uighurs criticism

People from Myanmar applying for humanitarian visas will be prioritised, Penny Wong says.

People from Myanmar applying for humanitarian visas will be prioritised, Penny Wong says. Photo: AAP

China’s ambassador to Australia has dismissed criticism from the foreign minister following a United Nations report into China’s mass detention of the Uighurs.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong labelled the reporting as “harrowing reading”, saying it found credible claims of torture and ill-treatment.

The UN Human Rights Office has released a 48-page report which details “serious human rights violations” in Xinjiang against the Uighur minority and other Muslims.

Ambassador Xiao Qian defended China’s record, saying the report was an “absolute fabrication”.

“This second report is a product of manipulation and cohesion … There is nothing true in it,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday.

Senator Wong says the report confirms fears held by Australia and the international community about the treatment of the Uighur community.

“The report states the allegations of ill treatment and torture are credible,” she told ABC radio.

“I want to … acknowledge the character of the Australian Uighur community. They have consistently spoken out, they’ve shown strength and determination.

“Many of them have been unable to be in contact with their loved ones.

“The fact some of the stories have come to light demonstrates the determination of Uighurs around the world but certainly here in Australia.”

Asked how the government will respond to the report, Senator Wong said the recommendations for China and the international community would be considered.

“We will consult with countries around the world, other parties, about how we can best respond,” she said.

“We can use supply chains to ensure we don’t promote, we don’t condone and we don’t financially support forced labour.”

Mr Xiao said the proposition of China imposing punishment on Australia for speaking out against Beijing was simply not true.

Beijing imposed trade sanctions and tariffs on Australian products after the former government called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

“I wouldn’t call it punishment if you talk about the stories of the coronavirus. It was a strong reaction from the Chinese public,” the ambassador said.

“So that was no real punishment, that was a reaction.”

Beijing has denied all violations in Xinjiang and issued a 131-page response to the UN report.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described the report as “completely illegal and void”.


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