China's ambassador to the UK was pushed to explain drone footage from Xinjiang showing what look like shackled prisoners with shaved heads being led onto trains, duing an appearance on the BBC's “Andrew Marr Show” Sunday.
Speaking on the same program, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was clear the Mulsim Uighur minority in China had suffered abuses of their human rights. But Ambassado Liu Xiaoming claimed that most Uighurs were living happily and that ethnic minorities in China were treated as equals.
When pressed to address the drone footage Liu said, "Sometimes you have a transfer of prisoners," but that Xinjiang was the "most beautiful place." Liu claimed he did not know where the footage came from and when pressed to explain exactly what was going on in the video repeated he could not as he did not know where the footage was from.
The ambassador also said that China will respond resolutely to any attempt by Britain to sanction Chinese officials following the imposition of a security law in Hong Kong. "If UK government goes that far to impose sanctions on any individual in China, China will certainly make a resolute response to it," Liu Xiaoming told Marr.
Earlier this month Britain introduced a new sanctions regime to target individuals it says are involved in human rights abuses or organised crime.
Some lawmakers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party have said the sanctions should be used to target Chinese officials.
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Britain says the new national security law in Hong Kong breaches agreements made before the handover and that China is crushing the freedoms that have helped make Hong Kong one of the world's biggest financial hubs.