As China faces growing calls from Western governments at the United Nations to close mass detention camps holding Uighur Muslims, a journalist who covered the human rights violations in the country broke down while explaining how all his “Uighur sources are gone”.

Speaking at a panel discussion organised the Asia Society, Foreign Policy editor James Palmer talked about the difficulties faced by journalists while writing about the repression of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region.

The UN has said that authorities in China have detained almost a million Uighurs in what are termed as “political camps for indoctrination”, which are shrouded in secrecy. Reports suggest that members of the ethnic minority are subjected to various forms of torture in these camps.

China, however, has denied that facilities are internment camps and brushed off concerns as “not factual” on Tuesday.