China criticizes pope over comment on Uighur Muslim minority

China against Pope Francis over remark on Uighur minority in his book

China criticized Pope Francis on Tuesday over a passage in his new book in which he mentions suffering by China’s Uighur Muslim minority group. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Francis’ remarks had “no factual basis at all”.

In his new book, “Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future,” Pope Francis listed the ‘poor Uighurs’ among examples of groups persecuted for their faith.

Francis wrote about the need to see the world from the peripheries and the margins of society, ‘to places of sin and misery, of exclusion and suffering, of illness and solitude’.

In such places of suffering, “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 the church”, Pope wrote.

The Pope does not elaborate further on issues relating to Uyghurs in the book outside the brief mention, while he talks about other persecuted groups like the Rohingya in more details.

Zhao Lijian, said that people of all ethnic groups enjoy the full rights of survival, development, and freedom of religious belief.

Zhao made no mention of the camps in which more than 1 million Uighurs and members of other Chinese Muslim minority groups have been held.

The book, “Let us dream : The Path to A Better Future”, which will be published by Simon & Schuster on Dec. 1, is the product of a series of exchanges between the pope and Austen Ivereigh, his English-language biographer. It is an extended reflection on the change Pope Francis sees as necessary in building a post-Covid world. It is in this context that he addresses several hot-button issues.