BEIJING - Two U.S.-based human rights groups have accused China of using the law heavy-handedly to clamp down on Muslim Uighurs in its restive western region of Xinjiang in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism. Beijing's "wholesale assault" on the Uighurs' faith ranged from vetting imams and closing mosques to detaining thousands every year and executions, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China said in a report released on Tuesday entitled "Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang".
"Systematic repression of religion continues in Xinjiang as a matter of considered state policy," said the report, based on previously undisclosed regulations and policies. The groups echoed charges from other rights watchdogs that China was using the global war on terrorism to justify a widespread crackdown on Uighurs. SEE REPORT: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang http://hrw.org/reports/2005/china0405/