WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 11 likened China‘s treatment of more than one million Uyghur Muslims to George Orwell’s “1984” novel, saying the Communist Party was detaining and abusing them in internment camps.
Speaking at an American Association of Christian Counselors event in Nashville, Tennessee, Pompeo also said he wished the National Basketball Association (NBA) had acknowledged the situation in the Xinjiang region.
NBA has been grappling with the backlash from a tweet by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey last weekend in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Morey deleted his tweet but Chinese state media has characterized it as the latest example of West meddling in China‘s affairs.
“The Chinese Communist Party is detaining and abusing more than one million Uyghur Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang, the western region of China,” Pompeo said. “The pages of George Orwell’s 1984 are coming to life there. I wish the NBA would acknowledge that.”
The China market is estimated to be worth more than $4 billion for the NBA.
U.N. experts and activists have estimated that more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are currently being detained inside internment camps in Xinjiang, as part of the Chinese regime’s crackdown on “extremism.” Beijing claims these camps are “vocational training centers.”
Outside these camps, authorities have turned the region into a police state with Xinjiang’s population being subject to constant surveillance.
By Humeyra Pamuk and Makini Brice. Epoch Times reporter Frank Fank contributed to this report.