China slams Pope Francis over remark on Uighur minority in book

China has criticised Pope Francis over a passage in his new book in which he mentions the suffering of China’s Uighur Muslim minority group, saying his remarks have “no factual basis at all.”

“People of all ethnic groups enjoy the full rights of survival, development, and freedom of religious belief,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.

Zhao made no mention of the camps in which more than a million Uighurs and members of other Chinese Muslim minority groups are reported to be held.

The United States and other governments, along with human rights groups, say the prison-like facilities are intended to separate Muslims from their religious and cultural heritage, forcing them to declare loyalty to China’s ruling Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping.

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