The United States expressed concern on Saturday over China’s “efforts to restrict and manipulate” the UN human rights chief’s go to to the Xinjiang area the place Beijing is accused of detaining over one million folks in indoctrination camps.
Michelle Bachelet’s long-planned journey this week took her to the far-western Xinjiang area, the place the United States has labeled China’s detention of one million Uyghurs and different Muslim minorities a “genocide.”
“We are concerned the conditions Beijing authorities imposed on the visit did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in (China), including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned in a press release.
Also learn: UN rights chief says China journey not for probe, Xinjiang conferences unsupervised
The prime US diplomat reiterated his nation’s stance that Chinese authorities wouldn’t permit Bachelet full entry throughout her long-planned journey, saying the United States was “concerned” about China’s “efforts to restrict and manipulate her visit.”
Bachelet defended her go to earlier on Saturday whereas nonetheless inside China, saying it was “not an investigation” however referred to as on Beijing to keep away from “arbitrary and indiscriminate measures” in its crackdown in Xinjiang.
She mentioned the journey was an opportunity for her to talk with “candour” to Chinese authorities in addition to civil society teams and lecturers.
Her go to was the primary to China by a UN excessive commissioner for human rights in 17 years and comes after painstaking negotiations over the circumstances of the go to.
“We are further troubled by reports that residents of Xinjiang were warned not to complain or speak openly about conditions in the region, that no insight was provided into the whereabouts of hundreds of missing Uyghurs and conditions for over a million individuals in detention,” Blinken mentioned.
“The High Commissioner should have been allowed confidential meetings with family members of Uyghur and other ethnic minority diaspora communities in Xinjiang who are not in detention facilities but are forbidden from traveling out of the region.”
Bachelet’s remarks have been additionally swiftly criticised by activists and NGOs, who accused her of offering Beijing with a significant propaganda win.
“Resignation is the only meaningful thing she can do for the Human Rights Council,” mentioned Dilxat Raxit, spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress advocacy group, whereas US-based Uyghur activist Rayhan Asat referred to as it a “total betrayal” on Twitter.
Also learn: Leaked ‘Xinjiang police information’ reveal Uyghur detention camps in China
The journey included a digital meeting with President Xi Jinping through which state media recommended Bachelet supported China’s imaginative and prescient of human rights.
Her office later clarified that her remarks didn’t include a direct endorsement of China’s rights file.
Witnesses and rights teams say multiple million folks have been detained in indoctrination camps within the western Chinese area that purpose to destroy the Uyghurs’ Islamic tradition and forcibly combine them into China’s Han majority.
Beijing denies the allegations and says it’s providing vocational coaching to cut back potential for Islamist extremism.