Xinjiang: China defends 'education' camps

China has defended its controversial policies in the Xinjiang region, just days after the US government announced import restrictions on products coming out of the area.

Beijing has come under fire for a network of detention centres which mostly house Muslim minorities.

But a new document says millions of workers have benefited from “education and vocational training”.

The US has likened the centres to concentration camps.

It has placed sanctions on Chinese politicians allegedly involved and earlier this week blocked some exports it said had been made with “forced labour”.

A new Chinese government white paper, however, says “vocational training” is increasing job opportunities and combating poverty.

“Xinjiang has built a large knowledge-based, skilled and innovative workforce that meets the requirements of the new era,” the report reads.

It says the training provided includes written and spoken Mandarin, labour skills and “knowledge of urban life”. The report says people from rural areas have started their own businesses or got jobs in factories after receiving state support.

China has long insisted that mass “vocational education and training” is necessary in far-western Xinjiang to counter terrorism and alleviate poverty.

But human rights groups have said at least one million people have been incarcerated in camps which they describe as “re-education” centres.

The Chinese report said that 1.3 million people had been through Xinjiang’s…

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