US steps up pressure on China over treatment of Muslims

NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump administration, locked in a trade war with China, is increasing the pressure on Beijing over what it says is the systematic oppression of ethnic minority Muslims.

The U.S. State Department hosted a panel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York to highlight the plight of Uighurs, whose native land in China’s far western Xinjiang province they call a police state. Three Uighurs recounted the oppression and harassment they and others have faced at home and abroad.

China denies mistreating Uighurs. It says the camps are for vocational training and, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it has defended any crackdowns in Xinjiang as necessary in the name of rooting out Muslim extremists.

American officials say they hope that by bringing the stories of Uighurs to a broader public, they will raise awareness of the severity of the oppression in Xinjiang and encourage other countries and the United Nations to pressure China.

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