| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

China tries to prevent the UN rights chief from releasing report on human rights violations in Xinjiang

The UN human rights chief has been requested by China, to bury a highly anticipated report on human rights crimes in Xinjiang, according to a Chinese letter seen by Reuters and corroborated by diplomats from three different nations who received it. After receiving harsh criticism from the general public for being too lenient toward China during a visit in May, UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet announced she will not run for re-election for personal reasons.

However, as reported by Reuters, she has promised to write a report on the western Chinese region of Xinjiang before she departs at the end of August. Rights organisations charge Beijing with mistreatment of the Uyghur people living in Xinjiang, including the widespread use of forced labour in internment camps. China has vehemently refuted the claims. According to four sources—three diplomats and a rights expert who all spoke on the condition of anonymity—the letter written by China expressed “grave concern” about the Xinjiang report and seeks to prevent its distribution. They claimed that in late June, China circulated it among diplomatic missions in Geneva and requested other nations sign it to demonstrate their support.
The “joint letter,” which Liu used to refer to China and the other signatories, and public statements made at the most recent UN Human Rights Council session, which ended on July 8, both expressed this support, according to Liu. Bachelet would have seen a “real Xinjiang with a safe and stable society” when she visited the area during her May trip to China, a representative for the Chinese foreign ministry told Reuters. The spokesperson predicted that efforts by other nations to “smear China’s image” through the Xinjiang problem would fail.

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