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US says China fabricated quotes from diplomats on Xinjiang

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The US hit back at China over a social media post claiming American officials in Guangzhou downplayed allegations of human rights abuses, saying the behavior puts Washington’s envoys at risk.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday that China should “stop attributing false statements to US officials or taking other actions that might subject our diplomats to harassment.”

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“Such action potentially endangers the US officials being named,” the spokesperson said, adding China was obligated to treat American diplomats with respect.

The US and China are embroiled in an escalating dispute over human rights, with Washington alleging that Beijing is carrying out genocide in its western region of Xinjiang and China saying that is “the lie of the century.

The latest chapter in the controversy started Sunday, when Buyidao, a social media account linked to the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper, posted that two officials of the US consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou said at a reception in 2021 that Washington understood “that nothing is wrong about Xinjiang.

The post quoted two officials by name as saying that “the hype about forced labor, genocide and human rights” was “an effective measure to separate Xinjiang from the global industrial chain.”

“We can use this to get the Chinese government trapped deep in a quagmire,” the post cited the two as saying.

The Buyidao post said the remarks were heard by a person it identified only as the “supplier of a well-known international sports brand who attended the reception.” The post didn’t make clear what specific comment each of the two officials allegedly made.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing that the comments “are not a fabrication of the Chinese government.” Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying has sent multiple tweets about the post, writing: “A rare truth from US officials who’ve been lying through their teeth. Waiting for an explanation.”

The US Embassy spokesman added that added that Washington’s position on Xinjiang has not changed.

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