Wednesday evening’s Yomiuri and Thursday morning’s Sankei reported from Washington on the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday. The papers wrote that the annual report said the Chinese government’s acts of “genocide” and crimes against humanity have continued in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and expressed concern that the authorities have expanded the internment camps for Uyghurs by using repurposed schools and factories to hold detainees.
The papers said the annual report did not mention the human rights situation in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of the country because it only covers the events of last year. However, Yomiuri said that during a press briefing on Tuesday, Secretary of State Blinken condemned Russian troops’ brutal attacks on Ukraine and called on the international community to shine a spotlight on human rights abuses around the world by saying Ukraine is not the only place where gross abuses are being perpetrated. Sankei wrote that the report warned that creeping authoritarianism is threatening human rights and democracy. Concerning Russia, the report said the country’s occupation and purported annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 continued to affect the human rights situation there significantly and negatively and that the Russian government continued conducting politically motivated arrests, detentions, and trials of Ukrainian citizens in Russia. Regarding North Korea, the report said there are many instances of serious human rights abuses, pointing out the abductions of Japanese and other foreign citizens. The paper quoted Secretary Blinken as telling reporters that respect for human rights is crucial to America’s enduring security.
Kyodo News also reported on the U.S. report on human rights, adding that China immediately criticized the United States by saying the report is “full of political lies and ideological prejudice.” The wire service said China has insisted that what the United States calls internment camps are vocational training centers established to pre-emptively combat terrorism and religious extremism and urged Washington not to interfere in its “internal affairs.” On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China is “strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to” the U.S. report that is designed to “slander” China. The United States has used human rights as an “excuse to impose sanctions on other nations as well as to pressure and threaten them,” Zhao told reporters in Beijing, adding that it should “do something useful to improve its own human rights situation.” On Myanmar, which has been under the control of a military junta following the coup in February last year, the report said members of the regime’s security forces continued to commit numerous gross violations of human rights, such as arbitrary or unlawful killings of civilians and arbitrary arrests or detention, Kyodo said.