Alleged Pope comment on Uygur persecution in Xinjiang groundless: Chinese FM spokesperson

â–²Pope Francis speaks during a private audience with members of the Italian Police on September 28, 2020 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Photo: AFP

The alleged comment by Pope Francis on Uygur mistreatment in Xinjiang in his new biography is not based on the facts and Xinjiang has reached its best time in history, and people of all ethnic groups  enjoy the rights to life and development, Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson said on Tuesday. 

China has 56 ethnic groups and the Uygur is an equal member of the big family of China. The Chinese government has always been protecting the legitimate rights and interests  of ethnic minority groups equally, Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson said at a daily briefing.

Xinjiang is currently at its best time of development in history. The society is prosperous, and people of all ethnic groups fully enjoy the rights to life and development. Their freedom of religious belief  is guaranteed by law, Zhao said. 

In the new English-language biography of Pope Francis, it is illustrated that he thinks often of “persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi” when regarding persecuted Christians in Islamic countries, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The book, “Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future,” was ghost-written by Francis’ English-language biographer, Austen Ivereigh and is to be published on December 1, according to AP.

Some media hyped on Tuesday that it was the first time the Pope said China’s Uygurs are ‘persecuted.’

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