China Claims Sabotage as U.N. Rights Official Visits Xinjiang

BEIJING (AP) —

A security person watches from a guard tower around a detention facility in Yarkent County in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

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 and forced labor 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.

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.

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.

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