Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised China’s record on human rights abuses, including the mass detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities after copping backlash from Beijing.
Asked whether the detention camps were immoral, Scott Morrison said: “You’ve seen the pictures, I mean, it’s fairly straight forward.”
“We have raised these issues as great human rights abuses and concerns,” Morrison told 3AW radio on Nov. 1.
“We’ve done it directly—we haven’t just done it in public—we’ve always raised these issues consistently, and the foreign minister has done this on every occasion she’s had.”
At least a million Uyghurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in the remote Xinjiang region.
Australia, along with 22 other countries, has condemned China at the United Nations for its treatment of the Uyghurs.
Morrison said Australia’s relationship with China had to be honest and transparent.
“We just have to act consistent with our values, which is what we are doing,” he said.
“The Chinese government will make their comments about what they believe is occurring there, and we’ll continue with other countries around the world to raise the concerns that we have.”
Chinese officials have lodged “stern representations” with Australia after Foreign Minister Marise Payne promised to call out Beijing on its human rights abuses earlier this week.
“They have their view about what’s occurring there and they’re obviously, as part of that relationship, entitled to raise those matters directly with us,” Morrison said.
“But it’s not something that I would seek to have define our relationship. I mean, the relationship is defined by the things you agree on, not the things that you disagree on.
“But it’s important that Australians understand that we’ll always act consistent with our values.”
By Daniel McCulloch