UN Rights Chief Says She Urged China to Review Counter-Terrorism Policies

Published date28 May 2022
Publication titleASEAN Tribune

28 MAY 2022 (VOICE OF AMERICA) U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose rare visit to China was criticized by rights groups and Western countries, said she urged Beijing to review its counter-terrorism policies to ensure they comply with international human rights standards.

Bachelet reiterated, however, that her six-day trip, which ended Saturday and included a visit to the western region of Xinjiang, was not an investigation into China's human rights policies but an opportunity to engage with the government.

Bachelet started her China trip, the first by a U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner in 17 years, Monday in the southern city of Guangzhou before heading to Xinjiang.

Her office said last year it believed Uyghurs in Xinjiang had been unlawfully detained, mistreated and forced to work.

"I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures under broad application, particularly the impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities," she said during an online press briefing Saturday.

China denies all accusations of abuse in Xinjiang.

Bachelet's access was limited as China arranged for her to travel in a "closed loop" - isolating people within a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of COVID-19 - with no foreign press.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington "remains concerned" about Bachelet's trip to China.

"We are concerned the conditions Beijing authorities imposed on the visit did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in the PRC, including in Xinjiang, where genocide...

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