China holds one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps:UNReuters

Days after the United States approved legislation aiming to toughen its stance on the contentious crackdown of Uighur community in Xinjiang, the Chinese media on Thursday called the move "extremely sinister" and warned of harsh retaliation. 

An editorial published in Chinese administrative mouthpiece People's Daily said the legislation passed by the US House of Representative with 407 to 1 votes on Tuesday "harbours evil intent and is extremely sinister." 

"Underestimating the determination and will of the Chinese people is doomed to fail," the editorial was quoted as saying by Reuters. 

While United Nations experts have raised major human rights violations in the Chinese province by stating more than 1 million Uighur Muslims have been detained in state-sponsored detention camps, Beijing has repeatedly denied the claims and have called the facilities "vocational training camps".

China Daily called the move a "stab in the back, given Beijing's efforts to stabilise the already turbulent China-US relationship."

"It seems an odds-on bet that more (sanctions) can be expected if the latest approval for State Department meddling goes into the statute books," it said.

Global Times said China should be prepared for a "long-term battle with the US." The statement echoed the sentiments raised by Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday, who said, "Any wrong words and deeds must pay the due price."

China's envoy to the US, Ambassador Cui Tiankai, warned against "destructive forces" that are trying the undermine US-China relations on Wednesday. 

china us
Reuters/Damir Sagolj

"At the same time, we must be alert that some destructive forces are taking advantage of the ongoing trade friction (through) extreme rhetoric such as 'decoupling,' the 'new Cold War,' and 'clash of civilizations'," Cui said.

The Uighur Bill came weeks after the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was signed into law by US President Donald Trump. The bill, that sided with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, aims to certify that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy from China to decide its trading terms with the US and threatened China with sanctions based on grounds related to human rights abuse. Beijing has slammed the move and warned against the US interfering in the country's matters. 

People's Daily called the US-Hong Kong bill an attempt to contain China and called the move "idiotic nonsense".

"The Chinese government will in no way allow anyone to act wilfully in Hong Kong, and must take effective measures to prevent, contain and counteract external forces from interfering in Hong Kong affairs," the state said. 

China's human rights abuse

Human rights lawyers in China are increasingly getting their licenses revoked since 2018 in what activists claim is the government's systematic way of effectively silencing them without garnering attention though arrests, according to recent reports.

China surveillance
In 2016, the Beijing Public Safety Bureau assured that "every corner of the capital was covered under the video surveillance system".Reuters

While lawyer's licenses are revoked due to crimes such as bribing judges, other ambiguous charges such as "seriously disrupting court order" are increasingly being used. Other charges such as "subversion of state power" are being used by a Chinese court to sentence lawyers to a prison term leading up to four years. 

Classified papers released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists through accounts by an anonymous and independently verified source revealed new details about the contentious highly fortified detention centres in Xinjiang.

According to reports, the voluntary job training that Chinese authorities have claimed are politically aimed "re-education camps". The vocational training is only provided once detainees are released from the centres and taken to other facilities. 

'Deeply disturbing' political interference

Last month, a Chinese spy disclosed highly classified information to Australian officials on senior military officials who carried politically motivated activities by Beijing aimed to interfere in administrations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries. 

The defector, named Wang "William" Liqiang, has provided Australia's security agency details of Chinese military officials in Hong Kong and described details of how Beijing funded and conducted operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

Anti extradition law protests
Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam is widely criticised for pushing the amendments of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.Reuters

Other reports, including the ones published in Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, said Wang "revealed in granular detail" about how Beijing uses a list of covertly controlled companies to fund intelligence operations which include surveillance and profiling of dissidents and co-opting media organisations.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the claims involving China's attempts to politically interfere in the federal parliament "deeply disturbing" and stated the country's counter-espionage agency is investigating the matter.

'Unemployed fugitive'

China has denied Wang's claims of working as an intelligence officer saying, "The so-called 'Chinese agent' reported by foreign media... is unemployed and is a fugitive." Chinese police in a statement on Sunday accused him of fraud saying his Chinese passport and Hong Kong resident document were "forged" and authorities were "further investigating the case."

China's state media Global Times on Monday said, "Chinese people would intuitively know that Wang sounds like an opportunistic liar, probably a swindler."