President Trump expressed support for China’s detention of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, former national security advisor John Bolton claimed in his new book.
“Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province,” Bolton wrote. “At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. The National Security Council’s top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.”
The Trump administration has sued to stop the publication of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happens,” claiming that Bolton is publishing classified security information. The White House has also claimed that Bolton’s book contains falsehoods.
Foreign observers estimate that upwards of one million Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities from China’s western provinces are being held in concentration camps, where prisoners are separated from family members, forced to engage in slave labor, and “re-educated” to abandon Islam. State-run Chinese media refers to the facilities as “counter-extremism training centers” and claims the indefinite detention of Muslims is necessary to fight terrorism.