Ireland South MEP Mick Wallace has said reports one million Uighur people are being detained by the Chinese Government are “grossly exaggerated.”
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the Wexford politician doubled down on his claim that China looks after its people better than Europe.
He said he doesn’t believe claims that people in China are prevented from voicing their opposition to the Government and insisted there is “frightening” anti-Chinese rhetoric evident in the Irish media.
He was speaking after he told a newspaper well-known for its support of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that the party was doing a “great job serving the interest of its people”.
“From 1990 to 2015, according to the UN, the Chinese Government lifted 750 million people out of poverty,” Mr Wallace told Newstalk Breakfast.
“There was a UN report published recently and it showed that in the rest of the world things are going backwards and, in spite of goals set in 2015, things have actually disimproved in many parts of the world and inequality is rising because of neoliberal policies being implemented.
“Whereas the Chinese because they have state-led development have managed to do this.”
He said he is “not a fan of any Government on the planet” and insisted he would be giving out about the CPC if he was living in China.
When it was pointed out that if he was living in China, he wouldn’t be allowed to give out about the Government, he said: “I don’t agree with that.”
“I don’t agree with an awful lot of the anti-Chinese rhetoric that is taking place at the moment and it is frightening that some Irish newspapers are going down that line as well,” he said.
“If you were in the European Parliament for the last 12 months the anti-Chinese rhetoric that is going on here is absolutely frightening.”
He said reports of hundreds of thousands of people being held in detainment camps in the XinJiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China are ‘grossly exaggerated.’
“I have actually asked the Chinese to go to XinJiang myself and see for myself what is going on there because, giving how reporting is done these days, so much of it is inaccurate, I want to go and see for myself what is going on,” he said.
“The figures the Americans initially got on the number of people detained in the region were brought up by one guy who is totally anti-Chinese. He is a right-wing fascist from Europe.”
Asked about the personal stories from Uighurs who have left China, Mr Wallace said every country has citizens who give out about their Government and said it was “much the same” as Irish people giving out about Micheál Martin or Leo Varadkar.
The UN has said it has received many credible reports that one million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”
Amnesty International has regularly warned about the scale of the mass internment camps in the region and human rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders has warned that hundreds of thousands are being detained.
It found that around 660,000 people are being detained and up to 1.3 million people may have been forced to attend mandatory day or evening re-education sessions.
Last October, October, 39 UN member states expressing grave concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other regions.
You can listen back to Mr Wallace here: