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Germany says its policy on China is under development

Germany says its policy on China is under development

FILE PHOTO: A student holds flags of China and Germany before a welcome ceremony hosted by China's President Xi Jinping for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Dec 10, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee)

BERLIN: Germany is concerned about the human rights situation in China's Xinjiang region, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday (May 25), urging China to be transparent about developments in the province.

Western states and rights groups accuse Xinjiang authorities of detaining and torturing Uyghurs and other minorities in camps. Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training facilities to combat religious extremism.

Berlin's China policy "is under development," the spokesperson told a regular government news conference.

"As far as the situation in Xinjiang is concerned, I can say in principle that the federal government - and here we are in agreement with our EU partners - continues to view the development of the human rights situation in the province with great concern," the spokesperson added, urging Beijing to ensure transparency about developments in the province.

After fresh media reports about human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Germany's economy minister said on Tuesday Berlin was changing the way it deals with China and would give human rights issues a higher priority.

China's foreign ministry responded on Wednesday, saying that Beijing resolutely opposes attempts at using disinformation and lies to smear China.

The BBC, Der Spiegel and other media platforms on Tuesday said they were in possession of a huge cache of data that revealed in unprecedented detail China's use of so-called "re-education" camps and formal prisons as two separate but related systems of mass detention for Uyghurs.

The German government spokesperson said Berlin would "evaluate in more detail" the reports.

Source: Reuters/yb

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