UK says reports of internment camps in China's Xinjiang 'broadly accurate'

Photo taken on July 2, 2018, shows a man walking past a wall bearing a China Communist Party slogan in Kashgar in the country's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Hong Kong (CNN)British diplomats who visited Xinjiang, in China's remote northwest, have confirmed reports that large numbers of Muslims are being held in so-called "vocational education centers."

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Parliament earlier this week that London had viewed the reports which began emerging in recent months "with a lot of concern."
"We had our own diplomats visiting the Xinjiang province in August and they concur that those reports (of internment camps) are broadly accurate," he said.
    Last month, China launched a fierce defense of its policies in the isolated region, where the predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group make up a large minority.
    At a regular press conference Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing was "firmly opposed to the UK's use of the so-called Xinjiang issue for any political purpose."
    "China's anti-terrorist and anti-extremist measures are aimed at preventing and stopping violent terrorist attacks," Lu said.

    'Safe and stable'

    International outrage has been growing over reports the Chinese government has transferred as many as one million people into "re-education camps," where former detainees say they were forc