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UN rights chief says her Xinjiang and China trip not an investigation

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(TibetanReview.net, May24’22) – Already under attack for her silence on the human rights situation in Chinese ruled Tibet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has told an audience of some 100 participants, who were mostly Beijing-based diplomats, that her trip to Xinjiang and China this week wouldn’t be an “investigation”.

She has made the remark as she arrived for her May 23-28 trip to Guangzhou in China and Kashgar and Urumqi in East Turkestan (Xinjiang). The visit to the Xinjiang cities takes place over May 24-25.

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And on the eve of the UN human rights chief’s meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guangzhou on May 23, more than 50 Tibetans and human rights activists gathered in front of the United Nations in New York City. They sought to make it clear that any failure to raise Tibet strongly during the visit would be completely unacceptable.

The protesters carried signs and banners which specifically referred to her duty to protect Tibet’s children and urged her to investigate the more than 800,000 Tibetan children aged 6-18 being Sinicized in colonial boarding schools.

Tibet is not mentioned as being on the former Chilean President’s itinerary and it is not clear whether her silence on the situation there continued during her meeting with the Chinese foreign minister.

* * *

China has called Bachelet’s mission a chance to “clarify misinformation”, having previously made it clear that no “investigation” would be allowed.

Following their meeting, Wang “expressed the hope that this trip would help enhance understanding and cooperation,” reported the AFP May 24.

China’s official Xinhua news agency May 23 further cited Wang as having hoped that Bachelet’s visit will be a trip of enhancing mutual understanding, a trip of strengthening cooperation, and a trip of clarifying matters.

China insists there are no human rights violation taking place in Xinjiang, while human rights groups and many parliaments have condemned it for its genocidal policies in the occupied territory.

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Uyghur victims and their families are not happy with the terms on which the UN rights chief is visiting their homeland.

Nursimangul Abdureshid, a Uyghur living in Turkey, has said she was “not very hopeful that her trip can bring any change”.

“I request them to visit victims like my family members, not the pre-prepared scenes by the Chinese government,” the AFP report quoted her as saying.

“If the UN team cannot have unlimited access in Xinjiang, I will not accept their so-called reports.”

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Given the terms on which the visit is taking place, rights groups fear that Bachelet’s six-day visit will help whitewash China’s human rights abuses. The UN and China have barred foreign media from accompanying her. And it is unclear who she will meet and how much access she will be granted throughout her visit, reported the abc.net.au May 24.

Bachelet’s is the first visit allowed by the Chinese government to a UN rights chief since 2005.

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