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China opposes Pompeo's remarks on Xinjiang-related issues, religion

A worker feeds Suffolk sheep at an animal husbandry company in Manas County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Oct. 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Labor workers of Xinjiang's all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, have their rights and interests protected by law, and have the freedom to choose their professions and locations of work, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said here Tuesday.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks in response to a related query about a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on monitoring and combating trafficking in persons on the department's website, which criticized China's moves related to Xinjiang and religion, including "forced labor".

Zhao told a daily news briefing that Pompeo is proud of "lying, cheating and stealing" and has been the source of various disinformation on China. So-called "forced labor" and other issues are typical cases of fabrication.

"Labor workers of Xinjiang's all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, are part of China's labor force whose rights and interests are protected by law. They have the freedom to choose their professions and locations of work with zero restriction on their personal liberty," Zhao said.

He said their traditions, customs, religious beliefs and spoken and written languages are lawfully protected. The employers provide good working and living conditions for employees of ethnic minorities and make sure all their needs are attended to.

"How are those U.S. politicians in any position to deprive the Chinese people of the right to pursue a better life through work? Some in the United States claim they care about ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, but on the other hand, they are taking all sorts of measures to repress Xinjiang enterprises and impose unilateral sanctions and pressure, which fully reveals their malicious intention to undermine Xinjiang's prosperity and development, sow discord among ethnic groups in China, and contain China's progress," Zhao said.

Zhao stressed that the United States itself has a terrible record on human rights and religious freedom, with numerous scandals relating to racial discrimination, police brutality and prisoner abuse, while the gun-violence crime rate in the country has been the highest in the world for years, causing on average tens of thousands of deaths per year. The religious situation of ethnic minorities in the United States is also worrisome.

"The U.S. government should focus on handling its domestic problems rather than making lies about others," Zhao said.

"Politicians like Pompeo can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but they cannot fool all the people all the time. No matter how they lie and cheat, Xinjiang's prosperity and stability will not be interrupted, and China's development and progress will not be stopped," he said.