Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.”
China denies the allegations.
Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour.
The US has reiterated its view that Bachelet’s visit was a mistake after the release of thousands of leaked documents and photographs from inside the system of mass incarceration this week.
Rights advocates have voiced concern that Beijing would prevent Bachelet from conducting a thorough probe into alleged rights abuses and instead give her a stage-managed tour, but Xi defended his nation’s human rights progress during the videoconference, according to a readout from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), which did not say whether Xinjiang was mentioned by either side.
“Human rights issues should also not be politicized, instrumentalized or treated with double standards,” CCTV quoted Xi as saying.
China has “a human rights development path that ... suits its national conditions,” he added.
CCTV reported Xi as telling Bachelet that there is no “ideal nation” on human rights.
He added that there is “no need for a ‘teacher’ who is bossy towards other countries” — an apparent reference to public criticisms of the trip by US and British officials.
According to the CCTV readout, Bachelet said the UN Human Rights Office is “willing to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side.”
She was also reported to have said: “I admire China’s efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realizing economic and social development.”
In addition to mass detentions, Chinese authorities have waged a campaign of forced labor, coerced sterilization and the destruction of Uighur cultural heritage in Xinjiang, researchers and campaigners say.
As Bachelet started the trip, a leak of thousands of photos and official documents from Xinjiang claimed to shed new light on the violent methods used to enforce mass internment in the region.
Reported by a consortium of media, including the BBC and Le Monde, the Xinjiang Police Files showed top leaders in Beijing, including Xi, calling for a forceful crackdown.
The files, leaked by an anonymous source to German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, also included a 2017 internal speech by Chen Quanguo (陳全國), a former CCP secretary in Xinjiang, in which he allegedly orders guards to shoot to kill anyone who tries to escape.
US Department of State spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday said that the US was “appalled” by the latest allegations.
Britain and Germany also voiced outrage, with British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss calling for China to grant Bachelet “full and unfettered access to the region,” while her German counterpart urged a “transparent investigation.”
Overseas Uighurs have staged rallies pressing Bachelet to visit relatives believed to be detained in Xinjiang.
“The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights should not look away,” Human Rights Watch senior China researcher Maya Wang (王松蓮) said. “She should also demand information about the detainees from the Chinese government, have her office develop a database of all those arbitrarily detained and imprisoned, and urgently work to secure their release.”
Bachelet’s office has said she would meet with civil society organizations, business representatives and academics, and has given assurances over her access to detention centers in calls with diplomatic sources this week.
TAIWAN PROTECTION MEASURE: US Army General Charles Flynn would not say where in the Asia-Pacific the missiles would be sent, but only that they would arrive in 2024 The US is to send medium-range missiles including the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk to the Asia-Pacific next year to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US military news Web site Defense One reported. The report cited comments US Army General Charles Flynn made during the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Nov. 19. “We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Flynn was quoted as saying. “In 24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and