BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Saturday that the United States should stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, according to a report by state TV.
Citing the passing of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, Yang said the United States had seriously violated international relations, and urged Washington to “correct its mistakes” and “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs”.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday requiring a stronger response to Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.
U.N. experts and activists say China has detained possibly one million Uighurs in mass detention camps in Xinjiang, a region in China’s far west.
China says the camps are part of an anti-terror crackdown and are providing vocational training. It denies any mistreatment of Uighurs.
The Uighur Act followed U.S. legislation recently signed into law by President Donald Trump aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
What started as demonstrations against a now-withdrawn bill allowing extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China has morphed into calls for greater democratic freedoms and nearly six months of sometimes violent protests in Hong Kong. Beijing has condemned the unrest and blamed foreign interference.
Yang said U.S. officials have repeatedly made statements that distorted and attacked China’s political system and domestic and foreign policies, and interfered in China’s internal affairs.
“China expresses its firm opposition and strongly condemns this,” said Yang, according to the report.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Ros Russell)