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US denounces China’s efforts to restrict, manipulate UN rights chief’s visit to Xinjiang


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized China’s efforts to restrict and manipulate UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Xinjiang.

Expressing concern about the lack of an independent assessment of China’s human rights environment, Blinken said he was “troubled by reports that people in Xinjiang have been warned not to complaining or speaking openly about conditions in the region, (and) that no idea has been given about the whereabouts of hundreds of missing Uyghurs and the conditions of detention of more than a million people.

“The High Commissioner should have been allowed to meet with family members of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority diaspora communities in Xinjiang who are not in detention centers but who do not have the right to get out of the area,” he added.

Calling it “a mistake to accept a visit under these circumstances,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said China would use his trip as an endorsement of its rights record.

Bachelet’s high-profile and rare visit to Xinjiang has been criticized by rights groups and Western countries as they believe it lacks transparency.

Urging Beijing to review its counter-terrorism policies to ensure they meet international human rights standards, Bachelet sided with the dragon and reiterated that his six-day visit to Xinjiang will not was not a survey of China’s human rights policies, but an opportunity to engage with the government.

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In an online press briefing, she said “I have raised questions and concerns regarding the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in broad application, in particular the impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities”.

As Washington warned earlier, Bachelet’s access was limited because China had arranged for her to travel in a “closed loop”. In the absence of foreign press, China said it had isolated people in a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

(With agency contributions)

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