Australia, NZ condemn abuses in Xinjiang

·1-min read

Australia and New Zealand have condemned human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

But they have not followed international allies by imposing sanctions on Chinese officials.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her Kiwi counterpart Nanaia Mahuta raised grave concerns over a growing number of reports about abuses committed by the Chinese government.

The pair cited restrictions on the freedom of religion, mass surveillance, extra-judicial detentions, forced labour and sterilisation.

They welcomed sanctions announced overnight by the United States, Canada, European Union and the United Kingdom.

"We share these countries' deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities," they said in a joint statement.

The trans-Tasman nations have called on China to respect the human rights of Uighur people and other religious and ethnic minorities since reports about the Xinjiang detention camps began to emerge in 2018.

"Today, we underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate our call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers," the ministers said.

The Chinese embassy later responded to the statement on Xinjiang, accusing Australia of meddling and double standards.

The embassy once again criticised Australia's record on human rights.

"We urge the Australian government to stop vilifying China, refrain from meddling in China's internal affairs, and cease to apply double standards on human rights."