SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said levels of happiness among all ethnic groups in the western region of Xinjiang are rising and that China plans to keep teaching its residents a “correct” outlook on China, Xinhua news agency reported late on Saturday.
China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of Uighur Muslims and claims of alleged forced-labor abuses in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports as saying one million Muslims held in camps have been put to work.
China has repeatedly denied mistreating Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers that are needed to tackle extremism, accusing what it calls anti-China forces of smearing its Xinjiang policy.
“The sense of gain, happiness, and security among the people of all ethnic groups (in Xinjiang) has continued to increase,” Xi told a ruling Communist Party conference on Xinjiang held on Friday and Saturday, Xinhua said.
Xi said it was necessary to educate Xinjiang’s population on an understanding of the Chinese nation and guide “all ethnic groups on establishing a correct perspective on the country, history and nationality”.
“Practice has shown that the party’s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct” and it should be a long-term approach, he added.
In July, Washington imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators by freezing any U.S. assets, banning U.S. travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
(Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie)