China rejects genocide charge in Xinjiang, says door open to U.N.

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FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag flies outside the mosque at the Xinjiang International Grand Bazar during a government organised trip in Urumqi

GENEVA (Reuters) - China on Monday rejected "slanderous attacks" about conditions for Muslim Uighurs and other minorities living in its Xinjiang region, saying that they enjoyed freedom of religion and other fundamental rights.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, said there were 24,000 mosques in the western region, adding: "These basic facts show that there has never been so-called genocide, forced labour, or religious oppression in Xinjiang."

"The door to Xinjiang is always open. People from many countries who have visited Xinjiang have learned the facts and the truth on the ground. China also welcomes the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang," Wang said, referring to U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose office has been negotiating terms of access to the country.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Michael Shields)