In the wake of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China, the country defended the camps on Thursday and characterized them as “educational centers.” “It is not mistreatment,” Li Xiaojun, director for publicity at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office, told reporters at the sidelines of the U.N. Human Rights Council session. “What China is doing is to establish professional training centers[.]” Li continued, saying that the detention of the ethnic minority was the “necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism.” “The West has failed in doing so, in dealing with religious Islamic extremism,” he said. “Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries. You have failed.” Reuters reports that Li also denied that China’s camps are anything like the work camps seen in “eastern European countries,” apparently referring to the Soviet Gulag camps during the Cold War. The Trump administration is reportedly considering sanctioning China over their treatment of the Uighurs.
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