By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US on Tuesday said it is "appalled" by "jarring" photographic evidence of China's alleged widespread rights abuses against its minority Muslim Uyghur population.
"This new reporting further adds to an already damning body of evidence of the PRC's atrocities in Xinjiang," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, referring to the Chinese government.
"Despite increasing public awareness and strong calls for accountability, the PRC government continues to deny any wrongdoing. We're deeply concerned by the PRC's failure to acknowledge and to stop these atrocities and to transparently address the course of concerns raised by the international community," he said.
He further called on Beijing to immediately release "all those arbitrarily detained," and to further "end mass detention, torture, forced sterilization, and the use of forced labor."
Photos revealed by a BBC investigation indicates China has a "highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape," the state-broadcaster reported.
Over 5,000 photos were reportedly gathered during a hack into the digital network of Xinjiang's police force. The images were later sent to the British public broadcaster, which took months to verify them before they were released on Tuesday.
China denied the report, calling it "disinformation."
"Pathetic for the media, in cahoots with the notorious rumour monger, to once again spread disinformation about Xinjiang," said China's ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang.
At least 1 million Uyghurs are estimated to being kept against their will in what China calls “vocational training centers.” But critics say the places are meant for indoctrination, abuse, and torture.
The US has accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity for its actions against its Uyghur minority. Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, calling the allegations "lies and (a) political virus."