CHINA has claimed the people it locked up in "re-education camps" have now "graduated" and are leading happy lives.
It comes after international condemnation of the compounds, where more than a million Muslims are said to have been held in brutal conditions.
Shohrat Zakir, governor of Xinjiang, northwest China, said estimates of how many people have been held are "pure fabrication".
And he added: "At present the trainees who have participated… have all graduated.
"With the help of the government, stable employment has been achieved and their quality of life has been improved."
China insists the camps – with high walls, watch towers and razor wire – are vocational training centres which "students" attend voluntarily.
But rights groups say they are more like high security prisons or even "concentration camps".
Leaked documents last month showed a deliberate strategy to lock up Uighurs and other ethnic minorities even if they have committed no crime.
Inside they are brainwashed in Communist ideology, forced to turn their back on religion and made to speak only Mandarin.
In September footage showed 600 shackled and blindfolded inmates with shaved heads at one of the camps.
Some former detainees have said they were raped, tortured and forced to have abortions.
Today Chinese authorities accused the US of a "smear campaign" after Congress passed a bill condemning human rights abuses in the camps.
Regional governor Shohrat Zakir said: “When the lives of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang were seriously threatened by terrorism, the US turned a deaf ear.
“On the contrary, now that Xinjiang society is steadily developing and people of all ethnicities are living and working in peace, the US feels uneasy, and attacks and smears Xinjiang.”
He said training will continue based on "independent will" and "the freedom to come and go".
But Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities from the region say their family members continue to be arbitrarily detained.
Beijing set up the camps in a crackdown on "religious extremism" after a number of terror attacks by ethnic Uighurs who want self-rule.
But evidence gathered by rights groups show people were locked up simply for praying or wearing veils, or if they had family links abroad.
Some claimed they were held because they had WhatsApp on their phones, which is banned in China.
Last year it was claimed Muslims were being snatched off the street and made to eat pork and drink alcohol.
China has also been deliberately separating Muslim parents from their children in an effort to "raise a new generation cut off from their roots", the BBC reports.
Shocking drone footage showed men bound and shackled in a re-education camp in Xinjiang
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