Uyghurs urge UN rights chief to ask hard questions in Xinjiang and not be misled by 'PR stunts'

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Beijing, China Updated: May 24, 2022, 11:03 AM(IST)

The US has expressed deep concern that the UN rights chief had not secured guarantees on what she will witness, saying she is unlikely to get an "unbiased" assessment of China's human rights situation. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Campaigners fear that Chinese authorities would prevent Bachelet from conducting a comprehensive investigation into alleged human rights violations, instead giving her a stage-managed tour with limited access

As United Nations' Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet visits China, Uyghurs have urged her to avoid falling victim to a public relations stunt and ask hard questions in Xinjiang.

Bachelet's six-day trip has entered a delicate new phase with visits to the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar in the remote region of Xinjiang on Tuesday (May 24) and Wednesday (May 25).

The outskirts of both the cities are dotted with what are believed to be detention camps, part of a large network of freshly constructed facilities that stretches across the remote province.

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Urumqi, the regional capital with a population of 4 million, has a sizable Uyghur population. It also houses key government agencies accused of orchestrating China's province-wide crackdown.

Meanwhile, Kashgar, an Uyghur heartland city with a population of 700,000, is an ancient Silk Road hub that has also been heavily targeted by Beijing's campaign.

Also read | Leaked database shows thousands of Uyghurs held in detention by China

China's ruling communist party has long been accused of detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities as part of a years-long security crackdown. The United States has labelled this a "genocide".

However, China has vehemently denied the allegations and called the allegations "the lie of the century".

Also read | UN rights chief to visit China from Monday, including Xinjiang

Campaigners fear that Chinese authorities would prevent Bachelet from conducting a comprehensive investigation into alleged human rights violations, instead giving her a stage-managed tour with limited access.

The US has expressed deep concern that she had not secured guarantees on what she will witness, saying she is unlikely to get an "unbiased" assessment of China's human rights situation.

(With inputs from agencies)

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