The United States has demanded that there should be “dire consequences” for reports of systematic rape and torture of women inside Chinas camps for the Muslim minority of Uighurs.
The US State Department said it was “deeply disturbed” by the “atrocities”.
The ministry was responding to a report published by the BBC, based on interviews with former detainees and some guards.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly denied this, describing it as “fake news.”
The report detailed allegations of gang rape, sexual assault and torture in detention camps in Xinjiang, China.
More than a million people have been detained in those camps, which China says are there to “re-education” Uighurs and other minorities, according to neutral estimates.
What did the BBC investigation reveal?
A woman who fled Xinjiang after her release and is now in the United States told the BBC that the women were taken out of their cells “every night” and were raped by one or more masked Chinese men.
She added that she was tortured and then gang-raped three times, each time by two or three men.
A Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who was held for 18 months in the camp said she was forced to strip Uighur women of their clothes and handcuff them, before leaving them alone with Chinese men.
A guard in one of the camps, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, mentioned further details about the torture allegations.
Adrian Zenz, a leading expert on Chinese politics in Xinjiang, said the testimony gathered for the BBC investigation “confirms the worst that we’ve heard before.”
What a responseAnd dr verb?
“We are deeply disturbed by reports, including first-hand testimonies, of the systematic rape and sexual assault of women in detention camps for minority Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang,” a US State Department spokesman said.
“These atrocities shock the conscience and must face serious consequences,” he added.
Australian Foreign Minister Marys Payne commented on the report saying that the United Nations should be granted “immediate” access to the region.
“We consider transparency of the utmost importance,” she said, “and continue to urge China to allow international observers, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, immediate, meaningful and unrestricted access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity.”
Human rights groups say the Chinese government has gradually denied Uighur Muslims religious and other freedoms, and has reached the climax of the repressive regime of mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination and even forced sterilization.
China has consistently denied allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, and says that the camps are not concentration camps, but “vocational education and training centers”.
On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Weinbin accused the BBC of submitting a “false report” that was “entirely without foundation.”