US Secretary of State Pompeo says George Orwell's '1984' coming to life in China's Xinjiang region

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers statements at the State Department in Washington, DC on Oct 9, 2019.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers statements at the State Department in Washington, DC on Oct 9, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday (Oct 11) likened China's treatment of more than one million Uighur 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 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 anti-government 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 Uighur 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 US$4 billion for the NBA.

China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in remote Xinjiang that it describes as "vocational training centres" to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

The United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.