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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in a tv interview on Wednesday that China’s therapy of Muslims, like the Uighurs, in western China was an “enormous human rights violation” and Washington will continue to raise the problem.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers statements at the State Division in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2019.REUTERS/Erin Scott

“This is not only an huge human rights violation, but we do not consider it is in the greatest interests of the planet or of China to engage in this sort of behavior,” Pompeo told PBS.

Asked no matter whether Chinese President Xi Jinping was accountable, Pompeo stated: “Xi Jinping leads the nation just like the leader of a tank platoon, a tiny organization or a nation is accountable for the items that take place in your name.”

Punishing Beijing for its therapy of Muslim minorities, the U.S. government this week widened its trade blacklist to consist of some of China’s prime artificial intelligence startups and announced visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Celebration officials it believes accountable for the detention or abuse of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.

China has denied any mistreatment of Uighurs.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, in a statement on Tuesday, denounced the visa action and stated the U.S. accusations on human rights violations had been “made-up pretexts” for interfering in China’s affairs.

China, which is engaged in a 15-month-old trade war with the United States, also views U.S. assistance for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as interfering with its sovereignty.

“We’re going to continue to speak about these human rights violations,” Pompeo stated. “As the president has stated in yet another context in Hong Kong, we want to make positive that these troubles are handled in a way that is humane.”

Asked about a increasing dispute more than a tweet by a National Basketball Association (NBA) group official supporting the protests in Hong Kong, Pompeo stated American corporations had been waking up to the dangers of operating in China.

“The reputational expense to these corporations I consider will prove to be greater and greater as Beijing’s lengthy arm reaches out to them and destroys their capacity for them, their workers – in the NBA’s case group members and common managers – to speak freely about their political opinions,” Pompeo stated.

Reporting by Eric Beech Writing by Mohammad Zargham Editing by Sandra Maler

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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