Pope Francis offers his first public criticism of the Chinese government's treatment of Uighur Muslims, in "Let Us Dream," a book slated for release on December 1.
"I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi — what ISIS did to them was truly cruel — or Christians in Egypt and Pakistan killed by bombs that went off while they prayed in church," an excerpt from the book reads.
Members of the Uighur community in China have spoken out about mass mistreatment by the Chinese government, including imprisonment in reeducation camps. Reportedly, more than 1 million people are held in such camps.
A report released earlier this year by Adrian Zenz, a scholar who studies China, says the nation is forcing sterilization and birth control on Uighur Muslims. In 2019, a report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council accused China of harvesting organs from living people who belong to minority groups, including the Uighurs.
Though China adamantly denies the claims, the governments of other nations and media outlets across the globe support the Uighurs' allegations.
"The remarks regarding Uighurs have no factual basis," Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday. "The Chinese government has consistently protected the lawful rights of minority ethnic groups by treating everyone equally."
China insists that the camps provide vocational training in an effort to curb terrorism and radicalization.