US & World

After Times Report, China Defends Its Crackdown on Muslims

“They are ashamed of the scum among their families,” the report said, referring to the Uighurs now living abroad.

The chilling details contained in the documents obtained by The Times — such as Mr. Xi’s description of Islamist radicalism as a virus or a drug addiction that required “a period of painful, interventionary treatment” — prompted new condemnations.

Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, called the disclosures disturbing, as did several American politicians, including Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, two leading candidates in the Democratic presidential race.

Given the sensitive nature of the subject — and the source — China’s state media made little other mention of the issue. The Times’s website is blocked in China, but there were signs that the disclosures had filtered through the country’s so-called Great Firewall, as they received unexpected expressions of support.

One user on Weibo, one of China’s most prominent social media platforms, singled out an official cited in the documents, Wang Yongzhi, who had been assigned to oversee the city of Yarkand, a cultural capital of the Uighurs. Mr. Wang, a Han Chinese, initially put in place many harsh measures, but became increasingly concerned about their effectiveness. When he quietly ordered the release of more than 7,000 camp inmates, he was arrested.

“History will not forget this person and this page of paper,” wrote the user, identifying himself as Still Your Old Yang. Others expressed support for the official who leaked the documents.

But Mr. Geng, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that Xinjiang had become a model for counterterrorism efforts.

“The New York Times not only shut its eyes and ears to the above-mentioned facts,” he said, “but even use the clumsy tricks of grafting flowers and twigs to taking out of context and hyping the so-called internal documents to smear and discredit China’s antiterrorism and de-extremism capabilities in Xinjiang.”

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