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UN's Xinjiang report 'coercive diplomacy'

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-09-03 07:51
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A man picks cotton in Aksu prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo/VCG]

The UN's assessment of human rights in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is an "illegal document and a perverse product of the United States and some other Western forces' coercive diplomacy", said the spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations on Thursday.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or OHCHR, on Wednesday released an assessment of human rights concerns in Xinjiang, which is "an illegal document through and through", said the spokesperson.

The so-called assessment was drafted and released without authorization from the Human Rights Council or consent from the Chinese government, which is a serious violation of OHCHR's mandate, the spokesperson said.

"The assessment is based on the presumption of guilt. It takes the words of a few anti-China separatists as the main source of information, while deliberately ignoring the authoritative information and materials provided by the Chinese government, and therefore has zero credibility."

The assessment distorts China's laws and policies, smears China's efforts against terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang, and diverges significantly from the statement issued by the high commissioner for human rights after her visit to China, the spokesperson added.

"It has seriously tarnished the professionalism and integrity of human rights work and interfered in and undermined international human rights cooperation."

Former UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, who released Wednesday's assessment, paid a six-day visit to China and its Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in late May.

At the end of her trip, Bachelet-whose term as commissioner ended later on Wednesday-released a statement and said the visit was "an opportunity to hold direct discussions" with China's most senior leaders on human rights, to listen to each other, raise concerns and explore more regular meaningful interactions in the future.

The spokesperson stressed that Wednesday's assessment is "a perverse product of the US and some other Western forces' coercive diplomacy".

The spokesperson said that faced with "coercion" by some individual Western forces toward the high commissioner and the OHCHR, "a few members of the office have bent over backward to comply with their demands".

"Under pressure and interference by some Western forces, the office has been reduced to their accomplice to contain developing countries and a tool to serve Western political interests. Facts have clearly shown that the US and some other Western forces do not care about human rights but only use human rights issues as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and put their own interests above the interests of others. They have become the biggest saboteur of international rules and order," the spokesperson said, adding that the so-called assessment is "totally inconsistent" with the actual situation in Xinjiang and finds no support.

Xinjiang is a place that once suffered greatly from terrorist attacks. But due to the efforts against terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law, Xinjiang has not had any terrorist incidents in the past five years, and the human rights of people of all ethnic groups have been well protected, said the spokesperson, adding that the people in Xinjiang are in the best position to tell the world what human rights conditions are like there. People who have been to Xinjiang all agree that Xinjiang is "a wonderful land", said the spokesperson.

In recent years, nearly 100 countries have spoken up at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council every year to support China's position on Xinjiang-related issues. More than 60 countries have sent a co-signed letter to express their concerns over the assessment.

Nearly 1,000 nongovernmental organizations from across the world have written to the high commissioner to express their opposition, said the spokesperson.

"The poorly planned farce by the US and some other Western forces has already been seen through and completely collapsed," said the spokesperson, adding that it is the US and a few other countries that have been bringing trouble and chaos to the world.

"Fabricating the so-called assessment and throwing mud at China cannot cover up the US and some other Western forces' own human rights woes."

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