China says door to Xinjiang always open but UN should not prejudge

GENEVA (REUTERS) – China said on Tuesday (March 2) 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 practices.

Ms Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said last Friday that reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitated a thorough and independent assessment of the situation.

“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’,” China’s delegation told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

A UN panel said in 2018 that it had received credible reports that at least one million Muslims had been detained in camps in Xinjiang.

China denies abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.