China claims sabotage as UN rights official visits Xinjiang

May 23, 2022, 9:39 AM | Updated: May 24, 2022, 5:45 pm
In this photo released by UN Human Rights Office, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at right meets w...

In this photo released by UN Human Rights Office, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at right meets with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Guangzhou, southern China's Guangdong Province on Monday, May 23, 2022. (UN Human Rights Office via AP)

(UN Human Rights Office via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday said the U.S., Britain and other foreign powers are seeking to sabotage its foreign relations by orchestrating criticism surrounding a trip by the top United Nations official for human rights.

China has long held back the fact-finding mission led by Michelle Bachelet, focused on allegations of mass confinement, forced labor and compulsory birth control measures imposed on members of the Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin went on the offensive over such criticisms Tuesday, saying “the U.S., Britain and other Western countries have been repeatedly staging political farces around the U.N. high commissioner for human rights’ visit to China.”

“They have first openly pressured and strongly demanded that the high commissioner visit China and Xinjiang, and conducted the so-called investigation with presumption of guilt,” Wang said at a daily briefing.

The U.S., Britain and other countries “jumped out and spared no effort to disrupt and sabotage the visit, creating conditions and obstacles for the visit,” Wang said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Bachelet in the southern city of Guangzhou on Monday, telling her that China opposes “politicizing” human rights and imposing double standards.

Bachelet’s trip is the first to China by a U.N. high commissioner for human rights since 2005.

Her six-day visit is focused on allegations of abuses against Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, but rights groups fear it will help whitewash the crackdown labeled by the U.S. as genocide.

China locked up an estimated million or more members of Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities in what critics describe as a campaign to obliterate their distinct cultural identities. China says it has nothing to hide and welcomes all those without political bias to visit Xinjiang and view what it describes as a successful campaign to fight terrorism and restore order and ethnic cohesion.

From Guangzhou, Bachelet is to travel to Kashgar, once a stop on the Silk Road, and Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital. The U.N. and China barred foreign media from accompanying Bachelet, and it’s unclear whom she will meet and how much access she will be granted throughout her visit.

The U.N. quoted Bachelet as telling Wang that she was looking forward to exchanges with “many different people during my visit, particularly with government officials, business leaders, academics, students and members of the civil society working on human rights and other social and economic issues.”

“While we will be discussing sensitive and important issues, I hope this will help us to build confidence and enable us to work together in advancing human rights in China and globally,” it quoted Bachelet as saying.

“Wang noted that to advance the international cause of human rights, we must first respect each other and refrain from politicizing human rights.” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

“Multilateral human rights institutions should serve as a major venue for cooperation and dialogue rather than a new battlefield for division and confrontation,” it said.

China’s ruling Communist Party allows no political opposition and strictly limits free speech and rights to assembly and religious expression. China is also one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights administered by Bachelet’s office.

Beijing has also come under criticism over its refusal to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as its hard-line “zero-COVID” approach to the pandemic that has disrupted the lives of tens of millions of citizens and upended global supply chains.

In an online meeting Tuesday with Wang, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on “members of the international community to condemn Russia’s illegal war of aggression and to assume their responsibility to uphold international law and to protect the U.N. Charter.”

Baerbock cited the “shocking reports and new evidence of very serious human rights violations in Xinjiang and called for a transparent investigation,” her ministry said.

“Human rights are a fundamental part of the international order and Germany is committed to protecting them worldwide,” Baerbock said.

“I think it’s important that these accusations, which have been known for a long time, are addressed by the Chinese side, and I made that very, very clear in this morning’s discussion,” she added.

Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck called the latest reports of internment, mistreatment and forced labor of Uyghurs “particularly shocking.”

“Internationally there needs to be a clear response and further investigation of this,” he said in a statement.

Habeck said Germany for years had shied away from looking to closely at the problematic human rights record of its close trading partner, but that the country’s new center-left government was taking a different approach.

Germany would scrutinize environmental, social and human rights aspects when considering German companies’ requests for loan guarantees for their investments in China, he said.

“We will also examine very closely Chinese firms’ takeover bids in Germany,” he added, saying one recent offer was prohibited while another was withdrawn by the company after questions were raised.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, echoed the concerns.

She tweeted: “Horrified by the Xinjiang Police Files, which spotlight China’s mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities.”

Thomas-Greenfield also said that Bachelet and her office “must take a hard look at these faces and press Chinese officials for full, unfettered access – and answers.”

__

Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao answers a question during a Zoom meeting interview with The Assoc...
Associated Press

Binance hacked to the tune of $100 million or more

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, may have lost more than $100 million following a hack of its Binance Smart Chain blockchain network. A reddit post by Binance discussing the incident said that the company temporarily suspended transactions and the transfer of funds after detecting an exploit between two blockchains. “The issue is contained now. […]
1 day ago
CVS sign is shown in Wadsworth Plaza in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021.  CVS Health shares...
Associated Press

CVS Medicare Advantage business takes quality rating hit

CVS Health shares tumbled early Friday after the company said a big Medicare Advantage plan took a hit in government quality ratings about a week before a key enrollment window opens for the coverage. The health care giant said that its Aetna National PPO dropped from 4.5 stars to 3.5 in 2023 ratings, which were […]
1 day ago
Secretary General of the Organization of American States, OAS, Luis Almagro addresses the OAS durin...
Associated Press

AP: OAS boss faces probe into alleged relationship with aide

MIAMI (AP) — The head of the Organization of American States is facing an internal investigation into allegations he carried on a consensual relationship with a staffer that may have violated the organization’s code of ethics, The Associated Press has learned. News of the probe into a relationship between Secretary General Luis Almagro and a […]
1 day ago
In this photo released by Malaysia's Department of Information, Malaysia's Finance Minister Zafrul ...
Associated Press

Malaysia plans smaller 2023 budget, goodies ahead of polls

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia plans record development spending in 2023 despite a proposed smaller national budget Friday that is also laden with the usual cash handouts, tax cuts and other goodies ahead of impending general elections. Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz unveiled in Parliament a budget proposal of 372.3 billion ringgit ($80 billion), down […]
1 day ago
FILE - Supporters of the Memorial human rights group wearing face masks with the words "The Memoria...
Associated Press

Reactions to Nobel Peace Prize for rights defenders

BERLIN (AP) — Officials in Europe praised the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to activists standing up for human rights and democracy in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has pushed Moscow’s relationship with its western neighbors to a new low. Even before that, ties had been fraught […]
1 day ago
A man takes refuge on a road in Jaffarabad, a flood-hit district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan,...
Associated Press

Flood-ravaged Pakistan contests ratings downgrade by Moody’s

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan on Friday contested a downgrading of its rating by Moody’s Investors Service, insisting it has adequate reserves and financing to pay back foreign debt despite the worst flooding in its history. Such downgrades tend to shake the confidence of investors because the action is seen as a warning that Pakistan is […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
China claims sabotage as UN rights official visits Xinjiang