Without going so far as to compare it to this visit by Édouard Daladier to the USSR in the summer of 1933, during which the leader of the French radical party had seen in Ukraine “a garden in full production”, when in reality the population was starving, the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Chinese region of Xinjiang turns into a controversy. Various NGOs denounce the overly lenient statements of Michelle Bachelet, while the Chinese government is accused of carrying out a genocide on the spot against the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.
After a six-day visit to China, the first in 17 years for a high commissioner for human rights, the former president of Chile finds herself in the crosshairs of various organizations and the United States, which accuses her of not having sufficiently criticized the Chinese government’s policy towards the Muslim Uyghur minority.
On Saturday May 28, during a press conference, the High Commissioner had to defend the course of her stay, claiming to have spoken “with frankness” to the Chinese leaders and not to have failed to denounce their “arbitrary” policy towards the community. uyghur. She also assured that her visit to the Xinjiang region had not been “supervised” by the Communist Party. Statements that did not convince, Washington having expressed its “concern” about possible limits brought by Beijing to the UN visit. According to the head of the American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, the conditions “did not allow a complete and independent assessment of the human rights situation, including in Xinjiang”, before declaring that this trip had constituted ” a mistake”.
To denounce the complacency of Michelle Bachelet, the NGOs rely in particular on the accounts published in the Chinese press, where one can read that the UN special envoy praised China’s progress in the area of human rights. of man. Non-governmental organizations also denounce the exclusion of the foreign press, banned from entering under the pretext of the epidemic situation in the country. Thus, China is openly accused of having disguised the reality, in particular by forbidding the inhabitants of the region to complain, and Michelle Bachelet of having yielded to pressure.
Furious at these accusations, China denounced unfounded accusations and assured that “the human rights of the Chinese people were better protected than ever”. Considering itself already “slandered” by the speech, Friday, May 27, of the head of American diplomacy, which made Beijing “the most serious risk of calling into question the international order”, this new interference in internal affairs can only exasperate China further.
China’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ma Zhaoxu, also raised his voice, declaring that “some Western countries, driven by ulterior motives, had gone to great lengths to disrupt and undermine the visit of the High -Commissioner”, but that “their scheme” had failed. Important for China, Michelle Bachelet’s visit was an opportunity for President Xi Jinping to highlight his action, since he did not hesitate to write in a press release that the High Commissioner had “announced his admiration for China’s efforts to protect human rights.” The United States, determined to show the world the imperialist inclinations of Beijing, particularly on Taiwan, cannot accept that Xi Jinping sets himself up as a defender of human rights.
The NGO Amnesty International calls on Michelle Bachelet to publish her report on Xinjiang as soon as possible, while many Uyghurs, the largest national minority in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, say they have no news of their imprisoned relatives. While it was the scene of bloody attacks perpetrated, according to China, by Uyghur separatists, the region was severely taken over by the authorities.
Since then, several Western studies accuse Beijing of having interned more than a million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in “re-education camps”, of having imposed “forced labor” on them, as well as “sterilizations”. “. The United States did not hesitate to speak, on several occasions, of “genocide”. The World Uyghur Congress, exiled in Germany, took offense at the silence of the UN High Commissioner and called for her resignation.