China alleges ‘foreign pressure’ blocking Bachelet’s Xinjiang visit
Geneva, Oct 13 (EFE).- China on Wednesday alleged that “foreign pressure” was hindering its plans to organize a visit by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to its northwestern Xinjiang province, where the authorities have faced heat over allegations of abuse against the minority Uighur community.
The Chinese Ambassador to the UN Chen Xu said in a press conference that recent declarations by various countries had led to the preparations for Bachelet’s visit hitting a “dead end.”
Chen cited the examples of a statement issued after the G7 meeting in June, which denounced abuse of the Uighur people by the Chinese government in the Muslim-majority province.
The ambassador said that Beijing is pursuing all aspects of the possible visit, but the pressures had made their work more complicated.
However, he insisted that a visit by Bachelet has to be “friendly” and not an “investigation that presupposes culpability.”
Chen added that the visit cannot be exempt from certain restrictions, as even state visits were not fully unrestricted.
The embassy’s human rights attache, Jiang Duan, claimed that an invitation had already been extended to the high commissioner several times, highlighting that eight high commissioners had carried out visits in the past.
“Xinjiang is open to anyone” as long as they don’t have prejudices and are objective, Jiang said, adding that many governments that have “vehemently” demanded a Xinjiang visit by Bachelet have refused to send their own diplomats to join introductory trips organized by the Chinese government.
Western governments and human rights groups have accused Beijing of carrying out a massive campaign by arresting thousands of Uighurs and imprisoning them in “reeducation camps,” with the justification of checking the spread of radical Islamist ideas among the community with a population of around 13 million.
However, China insists that these facilities are not reeducation camps but “vocational training centers,” established within the framework of a program to improve the economy and society of region, which has witnessed a series of terror attacks by Islamists. EFE