World Bulletin/News Desk
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has said Chinese authorities have detained two brothers of a Uighur reporter living in the United States.
A fourth brother was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for violating state security laws, the group said.
"We're deeply concerned by reports that family members of the Radio Free Asia journalist Shohret Hoshur continue to be harassed, including reports that his brothers have been imprisoned, apparently in retribution for his reporting," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei dismissed the criticism.
"I believe the relevant report is completely inconsistent with reality and not worth refuting," Hong told a Friday briefing.
China has also punished 17 officials for lapses in connection with explosions and riots in the East Turkestan region (Xinjiang) in September, state media said, as the regional Communist Party boss said the fight against "terrorism" was getting "more intense".
Dozens of people were killed in East Turkestan in the violence which began when explosions killed six people. Riots followed the blasts and police shot dead 40 people, some of whom were trying to blow themselves up, state media said at the time.
It was one of several violent incidents that have rocked the region in recent years. The government has blamed the trouble on "separatists" from the Uighur ethnic minority, most of whom are Muslim.
It is difficult for foreign journalists to report in East Turkestan, making it almost impossible to reach an independent assessment of the security situation.
After an investigation into the Sept. 21 violence, Xinjiang's Communist Party committee gave 17 officials "party and government disciplinary" punishment for security and other lapses, the www.ts.cn news site, which is run by the committee, said late on Thursday.
Zhang Chunxian, Xinjiang's party secretary, said the security situation was "extremely grim".
Human rights activists say repressive government policies in East Turkestan, including curbs on religion and culture, as well as economic and social problems have provoked unrest.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ocak 2015, 13:43