| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

China’s foreign minister says U.N. human rights chief can visit Xinjiang

U.N. human rights head Michelle Bachelet is welcome to visit Xinjiang, according to China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, but any probe based on the presumption of guilt is not acceptable.

Bachelet has long sought access to the western Chinese region to investigate accusations of abuse against ethnic Uyghurs. The issue has strained ties between Beijing and the West, sparking accusations of genocide from Washington and a U.S.-led diplomatic boycott by some countries of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“(China) rejects all kinds of biases, prejudices and uncalled-for accusations,” Wang, who is also a Chinese state councillor, said by video at the Munich Security Conference when asked if Bachelet would have unrestricted access in Xinjiang.

Rights groups accuse China of widescale abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups, including torture, forced labour and detention of one million people in internment camps. China says the camps are re-education and training facilities and denies any abuse, saying it is fighting religious extremism.

The so-called systematic forced labour or education camps are all lies and fabrication, said Wang.

“I hope you can believe the Chinese government, and trust what the Chinese government has said and the information that we have been releasing,” he said.

  • Reuters