A United Nations human rights panel says that an estimated 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China are being held in "counterextremism centers", with millions more forced into reeducation camps, turning China's far-western Uyghur region into "something that resembles a massive internment camp".
Geneva: A United Nations human rights panel expressed grave concerns that there were credible reports that China is holding a million Uighur Muslims in mass detention camps in Xinjiang province.
Following attacks by radical Muslim separatists, hundreds of thousands of members of the Uighur and Kazakh Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have been arbitrarily detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the party.
"But it's a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance".
The editorial did not directly mention the existence of the internment camps.
Xinjiang is located in the far northwestern corner of the country and is the largest of the five autonomous regions of the People's Republic of China in terms of land mass.
Xinjiang has "no room for destructive Western public opinions", and all steps must be taken to ensure its stability, it said.
"The turnaround in Xinjiang's security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China", the paper wrote.
Xinjiang has been enveloped in a suffocating blanket of security for years, especially since a deadly anti-government riot broke out in the regional capital of Urumqi in 2009.
The Uighurs, China's Turkic speaking Muslim minority, number approximately 10 million and are primarily based in the Xinjiang where they make up around 45% of the population.
Earlier, Yu Jianhua, China's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said it was working towards equality and solidarity among all ethnic groups.
In opening remarks at Friday's session, Yu Jianhua, China's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, praised China's policies toward minorities, saying they were aimed at promoting unity and harmony, and said economic progress in the region had lifted 20 million people out of poverty in the past five years.
China has not commented yet on the U.N.'s line of questioning but is expected to respond Monday.