Citizens take a selfie at a night fair held in Turpan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, July 19, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region government said the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claims about family members of so-called Uygur activists in Xinjiang being "harassed", "imprisoned" or "detained" in the region were groundless. In a statement released during the weekend, it strongly urged Pompeo to immediately stop smearing and attacking Xinjiang with rumors.
On Nov 5, Pompeo said the US was deeply troubled about the situation of family members of so-called Uygur activists, including Ferkat Jawdut, Alfred Erkin, being unfairly treated or harassed by the Chinese government.
The fact was that both Furkhat and Alapat were members of the terrorist and separatist organization "World Uygur Congress", said the statement adding that Pompeo should quit backing the terrorist and separatist group "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" that aims to separate Xinjiang from China and have plotted a number of terrorist attacks in the region.
After meeting with Pompeo on Mar 26, Furkhat claimed his mother was moved to a prison from a vocational education and training center, which was set up to help those who were influenced by religious extremism and terrorism and were involved in minor criminal activities. However, Furkhat's mother was living a normal life at her home and was in contact with him from time to time, the statement added.
Alapat's mother, younger brother and younger sister were all living a normal life and his mother was not, as he had claimed, put into a "concentration camp" at the end of 2017. They were never detained, it added.
Pompeo also brought up the case of Zumrat Dawut, who he previously said was sent to a vocational education and training center by force. In October, Abduhelil Dawut, brother of Zumrat, said in a video that her sister was never sent to any center.
This time, Pompeo alleged that Zumrat's elderly father was reportedly detained and interrogated multiple times by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang and he recently passed away under unknown circumstances. Actually, Zumrat's father had been living with his children, and he had never been either "interrogated" or "detained". He died at the age of 80 in a hospital in October 2019 because of serious heart diseases, the statement from the Xinjiang regional government said.