The Pak Banker

China says UN rights boss should not prejudge


GENEVA: China said on Tuesday that it was discussing a visit to its Xinjiang region by United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, but that she should not set out with the aim of condemning its policies. Bachelet said on Friday that reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitat­ed a thorough and independen­t assessment of the situation.

"We also find it regrettabl­e the High Commission­er made unsubstant­iated accusation­s against China based on misinforma­tion and political pressure," China's delegate Jiang Duan told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and the Tibetan region enjoy wide-ranging freedoms, including religious and cultural harmony, he said. China opposed the "politicisa­tion" of human rights, he said, also rejecting concerns raised by Australia, Sweden and the United States at the Geneva forum. "The door to Xinjiang is always open, and we welcome the High Commission­er to visit Xinjiang. Communicat­ion is kept up between the two sides, but the aim of the visit is to provide exchanges and cooperatio­n rather than ... so-called investigat­ion based on 'guilty before proven'," Jiang said. Bachelet said on Friday that she hoped to clinch agreement with Chinese officials about a visit to the country. Louise Arbour was the last U.N. High Commission­er for Human Rights to visit China, in September 2005.

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