WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Thursday welcomed a United Nations report that said China may have committed crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, saying it deepened Washington's concerns about what it calls a genocide there against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday released the report, which found China's "arbitrary and discriminatory detention" of Uyghurs and other Muslims in the western Chinese region may constitute crimes against humanity.
China has vigorously denied any abuses in Xinjiang and issued a 131-page response to the 48-page U.N. report, calling it "completely illegal and void." Chinese officials initially denied the existence of any detention camps, but later admitted the government had set up "vocational training centers" necessary to curb what it said was terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism in Xinjiang.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the report authoritatively described China's "appalling treatment" of ethnic and religious minority groups.
"This report deepens and reaffirms our grave concern regarding the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that PRC government authorities are perpetrating against Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang," Blinken said, referring to the People's Republic of China.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said separately that the United States would work with allies and partners to demand an end to China's abuses.
"It is critical that the full Human Rights Council membership have an opportunity to formally discuss the findings of this report as soon as possible and that the perpetrators of these atrocities are held accountable," she said in a statement.
(Reporting by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom, and Kanishka Singh in Washington; and Michelle Nichols in New YorkEditing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O'Brien)