China on Wednesday told the U.S. to stop interfering in its domestic affairs on the pretext of Uighurs in Xinjiang and warned that bilateral ties will be hurt if it slapped sanctions against senior Chinese officials.
"We have a lot of tools at our disposal".
The group said in a report that Xinjiang's Muslim population of about 13 million has been subjected to "forced political indoctrination, collective punishment, restrictions on movement and communications, heightened religious restrictions, and mass surveillance in violation of worldwide human rights law". Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting that sanctions be applied and for additional measures to be taken against government officials.
The economic sanctions over human rights violations in China would be a first for the Trump administration.
Detainees in these political re-education camps have not been charged with any crime, have no access to lawyers or contact with relatives.
They are also forced to learn Mandarin and sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, according to the report.
Geng was referring to a report from the group on Monday that said rights violations in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are of a scope and scale not seen in the country since the Cultural Revolution.
And then on Tuesday, the ministry attacked the UN human rights chief: "the UN Human Rights High Commissioner and her office should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect China's sovereignty, fairly and objectively fulfill its duties, and not listen to and believe one-sided information".
Bachelet blasted China for its persecution of the Uighur Muslims, castigated Italy for refusing to accept migrants from Libya, called for an investigation of the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar, and voiced concerns about the treatment of children brought illegally across the southern border of the United States.
Last month, a United Nations human rights panel held a two-day session on China's policies in Xinjiang, and raised alarm over "credible reports" of that China had turned Xinjiang into "something resembling a massive internment camp, shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone".
China has branded reports of such camps "completely untrue", saying that the "education and training centres" to which "minor criminals" are assigned serve merely "to assist in their rehabilitation and reintegration".
New York-based HRW, in a report released on September 10, presented evidence of what it labeled the "arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life" by the Chinese government in its Xinjiang region.