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UN chief nudges China for ‘credible visit’ by the world body’s rights chief

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb06’22) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has on Feb 5 told Chinese leaders that he expected the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to be allowed to make a “credible visit” to the country, including Xinjiang, reported Reuters Feb 5, citing the United Nations. But China has already made it clear that a goodwill visit is all that the former President of Chile will be allowed, subject to the condition that her office does not bring out its long overdue report on Xinjiang during the continuance of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The report cited a UN readout of the meetings as saying Guterres had met with China’s President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics.

“The Secretary-General … expressed his expectation that the contacts between the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chinese authorities will allow for a credible visit of the High Commissioner to China, including Xinjiang,” the readout of the meeting was quoted as saying.

Guterres’s travel to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Feb 4 was highlighted by China’s official media which has deplored the large number of democratic countries that had announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games over the genocidal situation in Xinjiang and severe and systemic human rights violation across the dominion of the communist party state of China. 

In the run-up to the Winter Olympics, China’s foreign ministry repeatedly emphasised Guterres’ support of the Games at daily briefings, noted the AFP Feb 6.

However, there is little prospect of China heeding Guterres’s call. China under President Xi Jinping has been more inflexible and more hardline on human rights issues than any of his predecessors after Mao Zedong.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Ms Michelle Bachelet, has been negotiating with Beijing since Sep 2018 for a visit to Xinjiang, where at least 1 million Uyghurs are alleged to have been held in mass detention camps.

China was reported to have finally approved a visit to the region sometime after the Beijing Winter Olympics, which opened on Feb 4, on the prerequisite that the trip should be “friendly” in nature and not framed as an investigation, apart from other conditions, negating the very purpose of seeking a visit by Bachelet.

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