Update 1: Corrects headline
Beijing, Apr 30 (EFE).- The Xinjiang government has made preparations for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to visit the Chinese autonomous region, which is home to the Uighur ethnic minority, whose treatment is at the center of the West’s controversy with Beijing.
In a press conference held Friday in Beijing, regional government spokesman Xu Guixiang said that invitations have been sent to Bachelet “many times” and that they are looking forward to her visiting the region, the subject of international accusations of human rights violations.
“We have made all the preparations and we are in the process of coordination and discussion. We are looking forward to her coming to Xinjiang,” Xu said.
It was unknown as of publication time whether Bachelet had accepted the invitation.
On Mar. 22, the European Union (EU) approved sanctions against four officials and a Chinese entity – the first against the Asian giant in more than 30 years – while pointing out that they were responsible for “serious human rights violations” and of “arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment” of the Muslim minority in the region.
China responded by sanctioning 10 EU citizens, including five lawmakers, and four entities.
In February, Bachelet said China was restricting basic civil and political freedoms in the name of national security and Covid-19 measures.
Subsequently, the Chinese representative to the UN Human Rights Council noted that his country would welcome a visit to Xinjiang by the high commissioner, but added that she should not pre-judge.
Regarding visits of journalists to Xinjiang, the spokesperson for the regional government said that “there is no need for the police to follow the journalists because they are not terrorists, nor are they armed.”
“Perhaps there are some suspicions or doubts,” added Xu, referring to what the authorities consider “manipulated and biased” information from some Western media that, he said, “is part of an orchestrated campaign to prevent the development of the region.”
“We are working very hard to help you. Perhaps we can accompany you, but we are not there to monitor but to provide you with the information you need to do your job,” he said.
He urged journalists that “if these things happen and they encounter that kind of problem,” they should let the regional authorities know that they “will manage them immediately and in strict compliance with the laws and regulations.”
Some Western media have protested the extensive monitoring and blockades they are subjected to when they travel to the region and the difficulty of collecting testimonies and accessing sources. EFE