(TibetanReview.net, Jun24’21) – As 44 countries presented a joint statement on Jun 22, expressing grave concern on the human rights situation in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, China has sought to reduce the UN Human Rights Council to a farce of a trial of numerical strength between those who are for and against it.
It also declined UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s call for a “meaningful access” to verify the “serious” reports of human rights violations in the restive region of Xinjiang, saying she was welcome for a “friendly visit” but not to pursue a probe with “presumption of guilt”, reported the PTI news agency Jun 22.
In their joint statement presented by Canada, The US, the EU and many other countries accused China of committing genocide against the minority Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang and called for an international probe by human rights groups.
Also, in her address to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Jun 21, Bachelet said, “I continue to discuss with China modalities for a visit, including meaningful access, to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and hope this can be achieved this year, particularly as reports of serious human rights violations continue to emerge.”
China had earlier welcomed a visit by one of her predecessors but then told him to get in line with other visa applicants.
Asked for his reaction to Bachelet’s request, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has told a media briefing in Beijing that the remarks made by the chief of the top UN human rights body on Xinjiang-related issues “runs counter to facts”.
“We welcome the High Commissioner to come to China to visit Xinjiang. We have long issued an invitation to the High Commissioner to come to China for a visit to Xinjiang and we are in communication on this issue. This visit should be a friendly visit with the aim of promoting bilateral exchanges and cooperation rather than to pursue a so-called investigation with the presumption of guilt”, the report quoted Zhao as saying.
While Canada delivered a cross-regional joint statement on behalf of 44 countries that expressed grave concerns on the human rights violations in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and China itself, Beijing sought to counter it with joint remarks made by 65 countries in support of its stance, “opposing interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights,” as noted by China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 22.
In fact, “more than 90 countries expressed their support and understanding to China’s stance and 65 of them clearly opposed interference with China’s domestic affairs on its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Tibet Autonomous Region under the excuse of human rights,” said China’s party mouthpiece globaltimes.cn Jun 22
The joint statement for the 65 countries was presented by Belarus, a country under a series of sanctions from Western countries for its record of severe violations of human rights of its citizens. On May 23, Belarus dispatched its air force planes to hijack a Ryanair flight travelling from the Greek capital, Athens, to Vilnius in Lithuania over its airspace to get custody of a young dissident journalist who was a passenger in it. It earned the Belarus leadership more sanctions.