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China readies an army of Asian, African envoys in Geneva to counter long-delayed UN rights report on Xinjiang

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(, Aug29’22) – Ahead of the expected release in the coming days of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s long-awaited situation report on it, China has taken a delegation of diplomatic envoys of developing countries from Asia and Africa to the UN Office in Geneva on a visit to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from Aug 24 to 27.

Should the report, when it is finally released, prove damaging, China has made it clear that it will use these diplomats to support its version of the situation in the region where it has been widely reported to carry out genocidal atrocities, including by incarcerating at least a million ethnic Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in concentration camps while calling them vocational and education training centres to the outside world.

“After speaking face-to-face with graduates from vocational education and training centers, Islamic clerics and people of all ethnic groups, the envoys acknowledged the efforts of the Chinese government, as well as its achievements in combating and preventing terrorism, protecting citizens’ freedom of religious belief and preserving the traditional culture of ethnic minorities,” said China’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 28.

Xinjiang remains banned for travel by independent journalists, diplomats and research scholars unless approved and chaperoned by the Chinese government. Scholars in the West who have written about the situation in Xinjiang not acceptable to China have been blacklisted.

The Xinhua report cited the envoys, invited for the visit by China’s Foreign Ministry, as saying “they will firmly support China’s legitimate position regarding Xinjiang and refute all accusations that malign the region.”

China has kept getting Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018, to postpone the release of the report for the last nearly one year. She completes her term at the end of this month. Bachelet is not seeking a second term following her controversial visit to Xinjiang in May this year and has expressed pessimism about being able to release the report by then after having promised to do so earlier.

China has recently been reported to be trying to get the UN rights chief, a veteran politician from Chile, including as its President, to shelve the report altogether.


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