Xi speaks with UN rights chief as Xinjiang row rages

BEIJING: President of China Xi Jinping hold a video call with the head of UN rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday, when she comes to visit Xinjiang on a mission overshadowed by new allegations of Abuse of Uighurs and fears she is being used as a public relations tool.
The Chinese Communist Party is accused of detaining more than a million people Uighurs and other Muslim minority in the far west as part of a years-long crackdown, the United States and legislators in other Western countries have labeled “genocide“.
As part of a long-awaited visit, Bachelet is expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour that has been marred by concerns from Western officials. , diplomats and human rights groups that the Communist Party will try to use to whitewash abuses.
China vehemently denies the allegations, calling them “the lie of the century”.
The United States has reiterated its position that Bachelet’s visit was a mistake after releasing thousands of documents and photos leaked from within the mass detention system this week.
And activists have voiced concern that Beijing will prevent Bachelet from conducting a thorough investigation into alleged human rights violations and instead give her a stage-managed tour. physical.
But Xi defended his country’s human rights progress during the video call, according to a report from state broadcaster CCTV, which did not say whether Xinjiang was mentioned by any party.
“Human rights issues should also not be politicized, instrumentalized or treated with double standards,” Xi said according to CCTV, adding that China has “a path of human rights development… appropriate to their national conditions”.
CCTV reported that Mr. Xi told Bachelet that there was no “ideal country” for human rights.
He added that “there is no need for a bossy ‘teacher’ to other countries” – a stark testament to recent public criticism of the US and British officials’ travels.
According to a CCTV report, Bachelet said the United Nations Human Rights Office is “ready to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side”.
She is also said to have said, “I admire China’s efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realizing economic and social development.”
A Bachelet spokesman did not confirm the Chinese state media’s comments to AFP, but said the high commissioner told Mr Xi she hoped her office could “accompany efforts to strengthen promotion”. promote and defend human rights, justice and the rule of law for all without exception”.
Bachelet later tweeted that meetings with Mr. Xi and other officials were “valuable for directly discussing human rights issues and concerns in China and globally”.
In addition to mass detention, Chinese authorities have waged a campaign of forced labor, forced sterilization and destruction of Uighur cultural heritage in Xinjiang, researchers and campaigners say. .
As Bachelet embarked on the trip, the leak of thousands of official photos and documents from Xinjiang is said to have shed light on the violent methods used to coerce mass interns in the region.
Reported by a consortium of media, including the BBC and Le Monde, Xinjiang Police Records show top leaders in Beijing including Mr. Xi calling for a strong crackdown. .
The files, leaked by an anonymous source to scholar Adrian Zenz, also include a 2017 internal speech by Chen Quanguo, the former Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang, in which he was accused of giving out. orders the guards to shoot to kill anyone who tries to escape.
State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday said the US was “appalled” by the latest allegations.
Britain and Germany also voiced outrage when British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on China to grant Bachelet “full and unfettered access to the area” and his German counterpart urged a “transparent investigation”. “.
Overseas Uighurs have staged protests in recent weeks to press Bachelet to visit relatives believed to be detained in Xinjiang.
Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, called on Bachelet to “ask the Chinese government for information on detainees, ask her office to build a base database of all those arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned, and urgently worked to secure their release”.
Amnesty International called the visit “a fight against the Chinese government’s efforts to cover up the truth” and said the UN must resist being “used to support blatant propaganda.” “.

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