China has been urged to grant “unfettered” access to the United Nations’ human rights watchdog after a cache of police files revealed further details of the abuse of minorities in Xinjiang province.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the files contained “shocking details of China’s human rights violations” against the Uighur Muslim population.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet is conducting an official visit to China and Ms Truss said she must be given full access to Xinjiang.
The BBC published details of files hacked from the computers of the police in Xinjiang.
The files include thousands of photographs of those detained and details of a shoot-to-kill policy for people who try to escape.
Ms Truss said: “Today, further shocking details of China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang have emerged, which add to the already extensive body of evidence from Chinese government documents, first-hand testimony, satellite imagery and visits by our own diplomats to the region.
“New evidence shows the extraordinary scale of China’s targeting of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities, including forced labour, severe restrictions on freedom of religion, the separation of parents from their children, forced birth control, and mass incarceration.
“The UK stands with our international partners in calling out China’s appalling persecution of Uighur Muslims and other minorities. We remain committed to holding China to account.
“We reiterate our longstanding expectation that China grants the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights full and unfettered access to the region so that she can conduct a thorough assessment of the facts on the ground, and we are following her visit this week closely.
“If such access is not forthcoming, the visit will only serve to highlight China’s attempts to hide the truth of its actions in Xinjiang.”
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the documents provide “some of the strongest evidence to date for a policy targeting almost any expression of Uighur identity, culture or Islamic faith – and of a chain of command running all the way up to the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping”.
The source of the files claims to have hacked, downloaded and decrypted them from a number of police computer servers in Xinjiang, before passing them to Dr Adrian Zenz, a scholar at the US-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
The foundation said the files include a classified speech by China’s minister of public security, a leading central government official. This directly states that President Xi gave orders to provide Xinjiang’s overcrowded detention facilities with more security guards and funding, and to expand the region’s prison and internment system.
Dr Zenz said: “These findings are significant because they provide us with frank policy implementation directives along with the thought processes and intentions that made them a reality.
“This gives an unprecedented look into the personal attitudes of Chinese authorities and the personal involvement of Xi Jinping. Documents with this kind of insight have never before been published and their revelations are very disturbing.”