Michelle Bachelet, the departing UN human rights commissioner, stated in a long-awaited report that China has violated Muslim minorities in remote Xinjiang in “serious human rights violations” that many would consider “crimes against humanity.” The report was dramatically released before Bachelet’s final day in office on August 31.
The 48-page study stated that China perpetrated these crimes, which included rape, forced sterilisations, and disappearances, in the context of the government’s use of counterterrorism and counterextremism efforts.
In retaliation, China said that the study was “based on the disinformation and lies manufactured by anti-China forces,” that it “wantonly smears and slanders” China, and that it meddles in the internal affairs of the nation. The receipt of an official Chinese response at the last minute, which included names and images of people who had to be blacked out by the UN commissioner’s office for privacy and safety reasons, caused the report’s publication to be delayed, according to The Guardian.
Rights advocates are demanding a more thorough UN probe into “Chinese government’s crimes against humanity” following the report’s final release. The study was scathing about Beijing’s recent violations of the rights of Muslim minority in the XUAR.
The report lists widespread human rights violations under a number of headings, including “family separations and reprisals and enforced disappearances,” “employment and labour issues,” “reproductive rights,” “rights to privacy and freedom of movement,” “rights to express one’s religious, cultural, and linguistic identity,” and “conditions and treatment at vocational educational training centres or VETCs.”
The reports of sexual assault and rape are against women in detention chambers. Further, inside the so-called “VETCs” without cameras these are particularly disturbing. The VETCs had “patterns of torture or other types of cruel, inhuman, or humiliating treatment or punishment.”
In Xinjiang, Bachelet’s report noted a “sharp decline in birth rates” starting in 2017. At the same time, there was a “unusually sharp rise” in sterilisations and intrauterine device implantations.
Up until the end of 2017, Beijing had constantly denied the actual existence of camps in Xinjiang. Then, Beijing for the first time acknowledged the existence of the ostensible training camps. However, neither federal nor provincial authorities have disclosed the precise number of persons who were detained in the camps. This leaving information vague and limiting access to the sites to guided tours only.
The accusations against Beijing included mass brainwashing, forced labour in Xinjiang’s industrial facilities, forced abortions, and the imprisonment of about a million members of minority Muslim groups. China has continuously refuted the claims, calling them an effort by western nations to discredit China.
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