Beijing is pressuring the U.N. to suppress a forthcoming report on China’s human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, according to a Chinese letter Reuters obtained which diplomats from three countries confirmed.
Beijing’s foreign ministers have petitioned Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for Human Rights, with a letter urging her to scrap the release of a long-awaited report on human rights violations occurring within China’s Xinjiang province, Reuters reported after seeing the letter. The U.S. State Department determined in 2021 that China “has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang” since at least 2017.
“The assessment [on Xinjiang], if published, will intensify politicization and bloc confrontation in the area of human rights, undermine the credibility of the OHCHR [Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights], and harm the cooperation between OHCHR and member states,” China’s letter states, according to Reuters.
Approximately 100 nations reportedly expressed support for China’s position and objected to “interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights,” Liu Yuyin, a spokesperson for China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva, told Reuters.
However, Andrew Bremberg, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told the Daily Caller News Foundation China has a history of coercing nations to run cover for its human rights abuses.
“China has frequently pressured developing countries to defend their human rights record, at times stressing that their refusal to sign onto certain letters would ‘negatively impact their bilateral relationship,’” Bremberg said. “There have been times in the past where they have even added countries to a letter that never agreed to sign.”
Bachelet announced she would not seek a second term as U.N. high commissioner on June 13 after receiving criticism for failing to investigate China’s human rights abuses during her May trip across the communist country. Yet during her June announcement, Bachelet reiterated her intention to release the human rights report before she steps down in August.
“High Commissioner Bachelet must follow through on her commitment to release OHCHR’s report,” Bremberg told the DCNF. “Her refusal to do so would only cement her legacy as a failed human rights advocate who has ignored the suffering of millions in China, and given support to the CCP, the worst human rights regime in the world.”
The Chinese Embassy referred the DCNF to a statement made by Wang Wenbin, deputy director of China’s Foreign Ministry, during a Wednesday press conference in Beijing.
“China firmly opposes smears and attacks against China using disinformation. The just position of China has gained strong support of the international community, especially the developing countries,” Wang told reporters. “The calculations of a small number of countries to use Xinjiang to engage in political manipulation, tarnish China’s reputation and contain and suppress China will not succeed.”
The U.N. Human Rights Office and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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