Oct. 30 (UPI) -- China defended its policy toward its Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang in response to recent remarks from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had urged Indonesians to stand up to China's abuse of its Muslim population.
The Chinese response, which included admonitions to the United States to reflect on its own treatment of Muslims, comes a day after China described the recent U.S. arrests of Chinese nationals connected to "Operation Fox Hunt" as a violation of Chinese anti-corruption drives overseas.
Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday Pompeo's statement interferes with Chinese affairs and that Washington should examine its own record.
"We are more worried about the United States," Wang said. "According to surveys, 75% of American Muslims believe discrimination is serious in U.S. society."
Wang may have been referring to a 2017 Pew survey indicating about three-quarters of U.S. Muslims had said President Donald Trump was being "unfriendly" toward them.
The Chinese foreign ministry also claimed China "values highly" religious freedoms, and that 200 million people follow some form of religion.
Beijing remains wary of the United States after the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday it had arrested eight people, including Chinese agents who were part of an extralegal repatriation program.
"Operation Fox Hunt," which China has described as efforts to track down "economic crime suspects," was targeting political dissidents, coercing them to return to China, the FBI said. Chinese agents would threaten Chinese citizens, leaving notes that read, "If you are willing to go back to the mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be all right. That's the end of this matter!" according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Thursday, China's foreign ministry said the United States was not doing enough to track down its criminal suspects and fugitives. Assistant Attorney General John Demers has said in many cases the hunted are critics of the Chinese Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping, according to NPR.