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China Moves to Correct ‘Lies’ and ‘Misinformation’ In Australian Reporting on Uyghurs

A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, participates in a protest in Istanbul, Thursday, March 25, against against the visit of China's FM Wang Yi to Turkey. Hundreds of Uyghurs staged protests in Istanbul and the capital Ankara,…

The Chinese Embassy in Canberra has invited journalists to a presentation to counter what it has called false reporting in Australia about allegations of widespread abuses of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province.

Australian politicians have compared China's treatment of its Uyghur minority to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

One lawmaker said hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs were facing forced labor or abuse in prisons throughout the Chinese province of Xinjiang. It is alleged more than 1 million people, including other Muslim minorities, have been interned in what the United Nations has described as “reeducation camps.”

China, however, has strongly disputed the allegations.

Its embassy in Canberra has attempted to push back against what it has called misinformation and fake news.

It invited reporters to watch a presentation called "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" to counter what officials have called lies about genocide, forced labor and cultural intimidation in the region.

Chinese officials said the news conference would help Australian journalists “understand the real situation in Xinjiang.”

They insisted there was "ethnic harmony" in Xinjiang, where there were concerted efforts to crackdown on terrorism.

However, human rights groups have said the presentation was another brazen act of propaganda.

“In a way it almost seemed like this laundry list of propaganda points that they wanted to get across,” said Nathan Ruser of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an independent research organization. “Everything that was said was pretty much in line with what state media and what government authorities have been saying for months, and it is in some cases years.”

Australia’s relations with China, its biggest trading partner, are at their most fractious in decades, with a long list of disagreements. There have been disputes over Canberra’s call last year for a global inquiry into the origins of the new coronavirus and allegations of Chinese interference in Australian politics.

Tensions have also led to the imposition of Chinese restrictions and tariffs on Australian exports to China, including coal, wine and barley.