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Australia vows to continue criticising China’s treatment of Uighurs after accusation of hypocrisy

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Australia has vowed to continue criticising shocking human rights abuses in China after Beijing suggested the treatment of Aboriginal people made Canberra’s position hypocritical.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Monday signalled she would keep speaking out on China’s treatment of Uighur people in Xinjiang.

In a media conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi took aim at western nations critical of Beijing.


“Speaking of genocide, many people would have in their minds the native Americans of the 16th century, African slaves of the 19th century, the Jewish people of the 20th century, and the Aboriginal Australians who are still struggling even today,” he said.

“The claim that there is genocide in Xinjiang couldn’t be more preposterous. It is just a rumour fabricated with ulterior motives and a lie through and through.”

Senator Payne said Australia stood by its statements to the Human Rights Council and other international bodies.

“Evidence that points to the use of forced labour, the use of forced sterilisation, the systemic, systematic abuse of and torture of women and a range of other actions are severe breaches of human rights,” she said.

“I do not believe in any way that they can be equated in the way that the foreign minister did.”

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Mr Wang said some western politicians chose to believe lies about Xinjiang instead of acknowledging what he claimed was progress in the region.

“They are only interested in political manoeuvring and creating the so-called Xinjiang issue to undermine security and stability in Xinjiang and hold back China’s development.”

Australia has repeatedly raised concerns over human rights with the issue a key sticking point in fraught diplomatic relations with China.

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