Australia will not back down from its criticism of China’s ongoing mistreatment of the Uyghurs. Remarks from Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Sen. Marise Payne indicated that she would continue to speak out against the communist regime, despite Beijing’s suggestion that the Australians are hypocrites due to the country’s historical treatment of Aboriginal people.
Speaking at the National People's Congress, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi attacked Western nations for their condemnation of China’s policy of imprisoning members of the ethnic minority group, reports SBS News.
"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,” he added.
Sen. Payne says Australia stands by its commitment to the Human Rights Council and other international organizations concerned with the wellbeing of China’s dissidents and oppressed minorities.
"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."
Payne's Chinese counterpart claimed that China has committed itself to progress in Xinjiang, and bemoaned Western politicians who choose to believe “lies” about the ongoing genocide, which has been condemned by both former and present Secretaries of State, Mike Pompeo and Antony Blinken.
"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," argued Wang.
Australia’s concerns with China’s treatment of the Uyghurs remain a contentious issue between the two nations as they spiral further into a trade war.