China tells United Nations rights chief to 'respect' sovereignty

Lamar Ellis
September 14, 2018

The new United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president, highlighted her concerns over "deeply disturbing allegations of large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim communities, in so-called re-education camps across Xinjiang", and called on China to allow United Nations monitors into the region.

Current and former American officials say the Trump administration is weighing the possibility of sanctioning Chinese senior officials and companies for the detention of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in internment camps, the New York Times reports. "We have a lot of tools at our disposal", she said.

The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a letter two weeks ago urging them to adopt sanctions against government officials "complicit in human rights abuses" as well as entities that help the government to carry out "mass detentions and surveillance of ethnic minorities". "But I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the USA government may take", Nauert said.

Geng Shuang, China's foreign ministry spokesman, said that the government is trying to "promote stability, development, unity and livelihoods" while ending "ethnic separatism and violent terrorist criminal activities".

As we noted in our Access newsletter yesterday (paywall), several events coincided over the weekend and on Monday that signaled the world is really starting to notice the abusive social engineering program underway in China's Xinjiang region.

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Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW, said: "The Chinese government is committing human rights abuses in Xinjiang on a scale unseen in the country in decades". Although Beijing has denied the allegations, Xinjiang authorities have acknowledged the existence of "political education camps" and "characterize them as correctional or rehabilitation facilities for "incorrect" or "sick" thoughts", HRW writes.

In the camps, the Uighurs are reportedly forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, espouse the Communist party and denounce Islam.

QR codes are now being installed on the homes of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region in northwest China, according to a Human Rights Watch report released on Sunday.

On Monday, the new United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet became the latest high profile worldwide figure to speak out against alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Bachelet blasted China for its persecution of the Uighur Muslims, castigated Italy for refusing to accept migrants from Libya, called for an investigation of the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar, and voiced concerns about the treatment of children brought illegally across the southern border of the United States.

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