This is the moment when critics of the UN tour expressed concern that the first visit to China by the UN human rights chief since 2005 would turn into a propaganda coup for the Chinese government. Beijing has repeatedly denied allegations of cultural genocide against its minority Uighur population in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million to 2 million residents have been detained, according to rights researchers.
Bachelet is in China on a six-day visit at the invitation of Beijing, where he will visit Kashgar and Urumqi in Xinjiang, as well as Guangzhou. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the trip will be conducted in a “closed loop” as part of the coronavirus protection system, a model used during the Beijing Winter Olympics where only authorized persons are allowed to enter. No media member will travel with a bachelor
Who are the Uyghurs and what is happening to them in China?
The Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation arrived on Tuesday for a highly organized six-day visit as a cache of documents detailing abuse in the region. Hacked from Xinjiang police computer servers and authenticated by Xinjiang-based researcher Adrian Zenz, “Xinjiang police files” show systematic targets of Uyghur identity, culture and religious expressions.
The files include thousands of mug shots of detainees, images that appear to be drills to suppress them, and security protocols, including the placement of sniper rifles in the Watch Tower, as well as a bullet-to-kill policy for anyone trying to escape.
The documents add a growing body of witness accounts, public records and satellite imagery, and visits to the area by diplomats and journalists that have revealed the use of forced labor, the separation of children from their parents, the repressed birth rate of Uighur residents and “re-education” camps and camps. Mass arrest.
Citing new evidence on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on China to allow Bachelet the freedom to investigate the allegations. “If such access is not forthcoming, the visit will only highlight China’s efforts to cover up the truth of its actions in Xinjiang,” he said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday that the United States was “deeply concerned” about Bachelet’s visit and had “no expectation” that he would be given the necessary access to an accurate assessment of the human rights environment in Xinjiang.
Rights groups are not optimistic about the long-awaited trip, which comes after more than three years of negotiations. Chinese authorities regularly block or intimidate journalists traveling to Xinjiang, and arrange high-profile choreographic inspections by prominent individuals and media outlets from friendly countries.
China has scrubbed the evidence of Xinjiang clampdown in the ‘genocide’ debate
“We do not expect much from this tour. Jumret Arkin, a spokeswoman for the World Uyghur Congress, said Mrs. Bachelet could not see or talk much with the Uyghurs in a free and safe environment for fear of retaliation after the team left. “We believe that in this context, this tour will do more harm than good.”
When asked if Bachelet would be able to visit detention centers and “re-education” camps – centers that Chinese authorities claim are vocational training schools – the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it “rejects political manipulation.” Prior to Bachelet’s visit, state media outlets ran articles entitled: “Xinjiang, the Most Successful Story of Human Rights.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that the US and British call for “uninterrupted access” was an attempt to “sabotage” the visit.
“It seems that the United States and the United Kingdom and other countries do not pay attention to the truth at all, but want to use the visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote the so-called ‘Xinjiang issue’ and humiliate China. “She is OK.
Rights groups also point to the fact that the Bachelet’s office said in December 2021 that it could not release a groundbreaking report on Xinjiang despite the document being “soon to be published.”
The trip coincides with strict covid controls imposed across China as the government follows its strict “Zero Covid” policy to prevent the outbreak of Omicron variants. A group of more than 40 legislators from China’s inter-parliamentary alliance last week accused Beijing of using coronavirus restrictions as an excuse to restrict the commissioner’s travel.
“This fact, with strong indications that a Potemkin-style tour has been prepared for UNHCHR [China]Make it difficult to imagine a scenario where a meaningful tour is likely to be achieved, ”read a letter from the group.
Some rights lawyers say the visit is still important for raising awareness and the verdict should be reserved until the trip is over.
“We should give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he gets out of the tour. Even if he doesn’t get uninterrupted access, if he is clear about what happened and the Chinese government is able to highlight the mechanism of these visits implemented over the years, it is already a contribution, “said Crystal Genwood, a former human security adviser at the Swiss embassy in Beijing. And a research associate at King’s College London.
Uighurs and their supporters condemn Chinese ‘concentration camp’, ‘genocide’ after Xinjiang documents leaked
Abduveli Ayoup, a Norwegian-based Uyghur scholar and activist, said Bachelet’s visit would be successful if it improved the conditions of those in prison or detention centers even for a day.
“It simply came to our notice then. So it is important, ”he said.
Abduweli, whose sister has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, is among many Uighurs living abroad who have called on the bachelorette to try to find their relatives who are missing, detained or imprisoned in Xinjiang.
“If she could tell me she was alive, I’d be happy,” she said.