Pompeo calls China's treatment of Uighurs 'stain of the century'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom Thursday

Speaking at an worldwide religious freedom conference that he is hosting in Washington, Pompeo denounced China for its large-scale detentions in the western Xinjiang region, where an estimated 1 million Muslim Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities are believed to be held in internment camps.

The forum brought together governments, worldwide organisations, religious groups and other civil society representatives to discuss opportunities to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief internationally.

"If you have declined to attend for the same reason, we take note".

The three-day gathering at the State Department, which is being held for the second straight year, is bringing together dozens of countries and hundreds of activists to promote religious freedom.

"We know the Chinese government called countries specifically to discourage participation".

Citing Tsai's remarks, Kao said: "The religious freedom we enjoy in Taiwan is an integral part of our democratic way of life and one of the most important assets we can share with the global community", which is why Pompeo not long ago highlighted Taiwan as "a reliable democratic partner and a force for good in the world".

Religious freedom has been one of the few human rights causes that has energised President Donald Trump's administration, which counts on support from an evangelical Christian base.

Lu also said China "demand [s] that the United States correctly view China's religious policies and the status of religious freedom in China, and stop using the issue of religion to interfere in other countries' affairs". United Nations experts and activists believe that at least one million Uighurs are held in detention centers in China's Xinjiang region. "We hope too, that those of you who have chose not to be here will reconsider your decision next time and find the courage to stand up for freedom every day and always".

In addition, UTS and Curtin universities are investigating their research links to Chinese firms involved in creating the vast surveillance technology infrastructure that is used to monitor Uyghurs and other minorities.

The U.S. has been considering sanctions against Chinese officials over their policies in Xinjiang but has yet to impose them amid Chinese threats of retaliation.

Relations between the United States and China are already tense over a tit-for-tat trade war, with the United States alleging that China engages in unfair trading practices.

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