Chinese embassy hits back at UK over Xinjiang measures

The Chinese embassy in London has issued a rebuke to UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab after he accused Beijing of repressing human rights in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The British government is perpetuating the "lies of the century" in describing policies as involving mass sterilization and torture, the embassy said in a statement on its website.

"We strongly urge the UK side to discard its bias, respect facts, immediately withdraw the wrong decision, stop hyping up the 'lies of the century' about Xinjiang, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs," the statement said, concluding: "Going further down the wrong path will only be self-defeating."

On Tuesday, Raab unveiled measures designed to punish companies profiting from perceived forced labor in Xinjiang. The embassy countered that efforts to improve employment prospects for mainly ethnic inhabitants of the region had been misconstrued. The UK approach would only harm consumers and businesses everywhere while delivering no benefits, it said.

China maintains that its policies have reduced poverty and increased security for everyone living in Xinjiang.

Nevertheless the approach has been controversial with the UN Human Rights Council split between a group of mainly Western countries who have condemned the measures and a larger group which has praised China's policies.

For its part, China says that no foreign entity has any right to interfere in its own domestic matters.