GENEVA – A top UN human rights official will visit China next week to take him to the Xinjiang region, where rights groups and some Western governments have accused the Chinese government of committing genocide and severe persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
This will be the first such visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to China since 2005, Bachelet’s office said. She plans to speak with high-level national and local officials, civil society organizations, business representatives and academics, and give a lecture for Guangzhou University students.
A five-member advance team arrived in China on April 25 to travel to Guangzhou and Xinjiang to prepare for Bachelet’s visit.
Bachelet announced in March that his office had reached an agreement with the Chinese government that he could visit Xinjiang. He has long spoken of hoping to visit the region, and his office is also compiling a long-awaited report on human rights abuses there.
Nearly 200 rights groups have asked the Bachelet to release its report, which diplomats say has been ready for months – or even closer to it.
Rights groups and researchers allege that China has detained more than a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and members of other minority groups in re-education camps; Forced labor; Forcing women in the region to take contraceptive measures; And separating children from captive parents.
The US government has declared that Beijing’s policy against Uighurs is tantamount to genocide and crimes against humanity. The legislatures of Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have done the same.
China denies the allegations and maintains that its policies were aimed at extremistizing those affected by jihadist propaganda in the region after years of violent explosions against Chinese rule.