China's Foreign Ministry urged United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to respect the country's sovereignty after she urged it to allow monitors into the restive far western region of Xinjiang and expressed concern about the situation there. For those who can read, they read out from a paper but for those who cannot, they said, "You can sing a song or tell a story and we will record you".
Discussions to rebuke China for its treatment of its minority Muslims have been underway for months among officials at the White House and the Treasury and State Departments. "But I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the U.S. government may take", Nauert said.
China foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to give a detailed response to the report and said that Human Rights Watch was a group "full of prejudice" against China that distorts facts.
"I want to say that Xinjiang is enjoying overall social stability, sound economic development, and harmonious co-existence of different ethnic groups", he said at his daily press briefing.
Han Chinese have also reportedly been subject to re-education, but according to HRW the primary targets are Turkic Muslims, including the 10 million Uyghurs and the Kazakh minority of about 1.6 million people.
The new human rights commissioner also said she was concerned about the humanitarian suffering in Yemen's civil war, asking for greater transparency from the intervening coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and promising to closely follow steps taken to hold the perpetrators of airstrikes on civilians accountable.
Detainees in these political re-education camps have not been charged with any crime, have no access to lawyers or contact with relatives.More news: 9/11 anniversary: Russian bombers intercepted near Alaska by U.S. fighter jets
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It is estimated that in the area, one million are now detained in re-education camps where they are forced to learn Mandarin and sing the praises of the Chinese Communist Party.
On Monday, the new United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet became the latest high profile global figure to speak out against alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Bachelet said a United Nations human rights panel has received credible reports that up to a million Uighurs in Xinjiang province have been detained without legal process by China and held in "re-education camps".
China has branded reports of such camps "completely untrue", saying that the "education and training centres" to which "minor criminals" are assigned serve merely "to assist in their rehabilitation and reintegration".
Officials from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said various reports from the region indicate that Muslims are "being treated as enemies of the state exclusively on the basis of their ethno-religious identity".
The Chinese government has not yet commented on this particular report but has denied similar allegations of mistreatment in the past.