Xinjiang Governor Shohrat Zakir on Monday condemned the US bill on Xinjiang [Jason Lee/Reuters]

A bill on Xinjiang passed last week by the lower house in the United States is a severe violation of international law and gross interference in China’s internal affairs, the governor of the far western region said on Monday, accusing the US of launching a smear campaign.

Tension has flared in recent weeks between China and the US over issues such as Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority and protesters in Hong Kong, complicating prospects for a near-term deal to end a 17-month long trade war.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation last Tuesday requiring a stronger response to Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

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