October 2, 2022

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UN report. China is alleged to have committed possible crimes against humanity and sexual violence in Xinjiang. Beijing’s reaction

China allegedly committed crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang region, mainly against the Uighur minority, according to a UN report.

The long-awaited UN report on the Chinese region of Xinjiang, published in extremis on Wednesday evening, mentions possible “crimes against humanity”, “credible evidence” regarding torture and sexual violence against the Uighur minority, asking the international community to act, informs AFP, quoted by Agerpres .

The scale of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of the Uyghur community and other predominantly Muslim groups… may constitute an international crime, particularly a crime against humanity“, the conclusions of the nearly fifty-page report state.

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, for whom Wednesday was the last day at the head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights after four years in office, thus keeps her promise by allowing the document to be published shortly before midnight in Geneva.

“Allegations that mention recurrent practices of torture or ill-treatment”

Although it does not appear to contain new revelations compared to what was already known about the situation in Xinjiang, this document puts the UN stamp on the long-standing accusations against the Chinese authorities.

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Its publication was the subject of intense pressure both from supporters of the approach, especially from the US and important NGOs in the field of human rights defense, and from Beijing, which would have wanted this report not to see the light of day. The Chinese authorities consider the report a “hoax” orchestrated by the West, with the US at the forefront.

In this report, the UN asks the international community to act urgently in the face of allegations of torture and sexual violence in the Xinjiang region, which the organization considers “credible”.

Allegations of repeated torture or ill-treatment, particularly forced medical treatment and poor conditions of detention, are credible, as are individual allegations of sexual and gender-based violence“, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights writes in the report.

Better late than never. It will be a decisive moment“, Sophie Richardson, director of the NGO Human Rights Watch for China, told AFP before the publication of the document. She believes that its publication proves that “no state is above the law”. More than the content of the report, the existence and publication are important, according to Sophie Richardson, because it will force the UN Human Rights Council to take up the case.

China strongly opposes the report

On the other hand, China has persistently repeated its negative opinion of this document. At the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun reiterated that he “strongly opposes the report”. Michelle Bachelet that “it interferes in China’s internal affairs”.

The word genocide was not used in the text of the report, an accusation brought to Beijing by the American executive.

In January, the French deputies, following in the footsteps of the British, Dutch and Canadian, qualified as genocide the treatment applied to the Uyghurs by the Chinese authorities.

Xinjiang and other provinces in China have been targeted for decades, especially between 2009 and 2014, by attacks attributed to Islamists or Uyghur separatists. For this reason, for several years, the Xinjiang region has been under intense surveillance: omnipresent cameras, security gates in buildings, highly visible armed forces on the streets, restrictions on the issuance of passports.

Western research, based on interpretations of official documents, testimonies of alleged victims and statistical extrapolations, accuses the Chinese authorities of interning at least one million people, most of them Uyghurs, in camps, of carrying out “forced” sterilizations and abortions or that they imposed “forced labor”.

China denied all these accusations. The authorities in Beijing present these camps as “vocational training centers” intended to keep the residents of this province away from religious extremism, centers which they now claim are closed because all the “students” have “completed their training”. .

Michelle Bachelet, accused of being too lenient towards Beijing, replied that the dialogue with the Chinese authorities, as happened especially during the controversial trip she made to China in May, “doesn’t mean we close our eyes”. “Dialogue and trying to understand better does not mean that we are tolerant, that we look the other way or that we close our eyes. And even less that we cannot speak honestly”, said Bachelet, who, at the end of her mandate, fulfilled its promise to publish a report on Beijing’s human rights violations in the Xinjiang region on August 31.

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