Beijing’s mouthpiece has added to a war of words over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, claiming Aussie pollies are hiding behind free speech to racially target Chinese people.
Beijing’s mouthpiece has rubbished claims of genocide in Xinjiang as “nonsense” a day after Marise Payne said there were “credible reports” of systematic abuse of Uyghur women.
On Thursday, the Foreign Minister hit back at an extraordinary press conference held by the Chinese embassy that lashed Australia for its criticism of human rights abuses in China.
Ms. Payne said Australia would continue to be “clear and consistent” in raising abuses in Xinjiang, where human rights groups estimate one million Uyghurs have been detained in internment camps.
But in an article published in Beijing’s mouthpiece Global Times on Friday, Australia was accused of spreading “groundless rumors” about Xinjiang. Their claim of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is also nonsense since local people have lived a peaceful and prosperous life, thanks to Xinjiang’s governance,” it read. “Australia is condoning the instigation of hatred and hostility against Chinese people by letting these rumors spread unchecked.” Australia has consistently avoided following the UK and Canada in declaring genocide was underway in Xinjiang. Still, Ms. Payne said there credible reports showed the “systematic abuse and torture of women” in the region.
“These are matters which we have raised at the highest level,” she said.
“Australia has always been evident, not just about (the abuse of Uyghurs), but about matters of human rights more broadly.
“Where they are of concern to us, we will make clear our views, no matter where they occur.”
Australian journalists were on Tuesday shown a video by Chinese officials – titled ‘Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land’ – which rejected claims the Uyghur population was targeted in the region. Veteran Liberal backbencher Eric Abetz blasted the “sickening display of propaganda”, though Ms. Payne preferred to laud the freedom of speech allowing Ambassador Cheng to hold the press conference. The publication accused Australia’s political elite of hiding behind freedom of speech to “incite hatred” against individuals from China.