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Abe voices concern over China's human rights situation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second from right, talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, second from left, inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Oct. 26, 2018. (Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concern over the human rights situation in China during his meeting with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, a government official said.

"Of course, with the Uighur issue in mind, (Abe told Li that) the international community including Japan has been paying close attention to the human rights situation in China," the Japanese official told reporters.

Abe's remarks indicated that Japan and China have been at odds over several political issues, although they have agreed to bolster economic cooperation as bilateral relations have been markedly improving since late last year.

Earlier this month, authorities in China's far-western Xinjiang region moved to set up vocational training camps for impressionable Muslim Uighur youth to master the Mandarin language, gain knowledge of the law and acquire professional skills, with the goal of containing and eradicating extremism.

The move has further raised international fears over human rights situation in the region where many Uighurs, who have opposed growing state surveillance, have been detained under the "reeducation" campaign.

In April last year, "de-radicalization regulations" were implemented that prohibit "abnormal" beards and wearing veils in public places, among other behaviors, while banning the use of some Islamic names when naming children and setting punishments for the teaching of religion to children.

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