A comment from Pope Francis in an upcoming book — in which he called ethnic Uighurs in western China a “persecuted” people for the first time — has set the Chinese government on the defense.
The reference to abuses against Uighurs, which Beijing has long denied despite mounting evidence of a brutal crackdown, could tarnish the recent warming of relations between the Vatican and China.
Writing in his new book “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future,” Francis listed “the poor Uighurs” among the people of the world he kept in his mind and prayers.
“I think often of persecuted peoples,” Francis said in one passage. “The Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi — what ISIS did to them was truly cruel — or Christians in Egypt and Pakistan killed by bombs that went off while they prayed in church.”