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2022-May-25  17:55

Xi Denounces ‘Preachers' Trying to 'Boss' China as UN Human Rights Chief Visits Xinjiang

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Xi Jinping has told UN Official Michelle Bachelet that China’s human rights development "suits its own national conditions", according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi defended his country’s track record on the issue on Wednesday in a video call with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who arrived in China on Monday for a six-day tour.

Bachelet’s itinerary is reportedly expected to take her to the far-Western region of Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has been accused of “mass internment, forced assimilation, forced labor and forced sterilization” against Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities. Beijing has repeatedly denied all these allegations.

"On the issue of human rights, no country is perfect, there is no need for 'preachers' to boss around other countries, still less should they politicize the issue, practice double standards or use it as an excuse to interfere in other countries' internal affairs," Xi was quoted as saying by CCTV.

Bachelet, in turn, was cited as voicing admiration for Beijing in its "efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realizing economic and social development".

"I attach great importance to and cherish this visit. I will have extensive contact and direct communication with the Chinese government and people from all walks of life. I believe this visit will help me better understand China," she said, according to a readout of their exchange cited by CCTV.

There was reportedly no specific mention of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

This is the first trip by a UN human rights chief to China since 2005. UN officials have been negotiating with the Chinese government since 2018 to secure “unfettered, meaningful access” to Xinjiang. Bachelet’s "closed loop" visit is expected to take her to the cities of Kashgar and Urumqi in Xinjiang, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

It was clarified that the delegation will be isolated inside a "bubble" to contain the potential spread of COVID-19, ruling out the presence of any accompanying international journalists.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the UN official would meet Chinese leaders and “have extensive exchanges with people from various sectors”.

"We have no expectation that (China) will grant the necessary access required to conduct a complete, unmanipulated assessment of the human rights environment in Xinjiang," US State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters on May 24.

"We think it was a mistake to agree to a visit under the circumstances," as Bachelet would not be able to obtain a full picture "of the atrocities, the crimes against humanity, and genocide" in the region, he added.

Amnesty International weighed in on the visit by Bachelet to China, saying in a statement that the UN official must "address crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations".

"Michelle Bachelet's long-delayed visit to Xinjiang is a critical opportunity to address human rights violations in the region, but it will also be a running battle against Chinese government efforts to cover up the truth," warned the organization's Secretary-General Agnes Callamard.

Allegations have been spearheaded by the US that 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps, located in Xinjiang and other parts of China. Factories in Xinjiang have also been accused of using forced labour, with Chinese authorities fending off unsubstantiated claims of forcibly sterilising Uyghur women.

Beijing has repeatedly denied all the accusations, pointing out that the facilities that rights groups refer to are in fact "vocational training centres" used to eradicate extremism and stamp out poverty. Claims of “forced labour” were dismissed as "fabricated".

Beijing strictly complies with international labour laws and domestic legislation, resolutely suppressing any illegal actions in this area, and there is no such thing as "forced labour" in the Muslim-dominated region of Xinjiang, stated China's legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC).