China on March 2 said that it was discussing a visit to the Xinjiang region by the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet. According to Global Times, Bachelet last week had said that reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitated a thorough and independent assessment of the situation. In response to the UNHR chief, China said that “doors to Xinjiang is always open” and the country “welcomes” the High Commissioner to visit the region.
While speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, China’s delegate Jiang Duan, however, also added that the aim of the visit is to provide exchanges and cooperation rather than so-called investigation based on “guilty before proven”. Further, China also opposed the “politicisation” of human rights and interference in its internal affairs. Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin even cited a multi-year survey conducted by an international prestigious institution that shows Chinese people’s satisfaction with the Communist Party of China-led government exceeded 90 per cent for several years and said that the people living inside a country have the first-hand experience of how good or bad their country’s human rights is.
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China’s systematic crackdown on Uyghurs
China’s Xinjiang is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. These Turkic Muslims, which consist of 45% of Xinjiang’s population, have long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination. About 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang has been imprisoned in an expanding network of “political re-education” (detention) camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
Classified documents known as the China Cables revealed how the Chinese government uses technology to control Uyghur Muslims worldwide. However, China has repeatedly denied these reports stating that the camps in Xinjiang provide vocational training. People in the camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language. As Beijing denies these accounts, it had also till now refused to allow independent inspections into these regions, which further fueled reports related to China’s atrocities on the minority Muslims.
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