Former two-time Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Wednesday filed a report on China's “Crimes against humanity” on her last day as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) as she left her office to a standing ovation.
Bachelet warned of the possible commission of crimes against humanity in China's Xinjiang region. ”The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uighurs and members of other majority Muslim groups (...) may amount to international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity, the report stated.
The report was submitted after a long independent investigation carried out by Bachelet herself. China may have committed crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities by implementing policies involving mass arbitrary detentions and other serious abuses.
The UN admitted that China's anti-terrorism legislation led to the large-scale deprivation of liberty of these minorities at least between 2017 and 2019. Since then, the pattern seems to have changed and the centers where Uyghurs were confined - called vocational education centers by the government - have been reduced in size and number. However, detentions continue to be carried out through criminal prosecutions which have resulted in the increased length and number of incarcerations of Uyghurs, a Muslim group living in the Xinjiang region of northeastern China.
Dialoguing and broadening my understanding does not mean approving, overlooking, or turning a blind eye. And it does not exclude speaking frankly, said Bachelet after years of being criticized for allegedly looking the other way on these matters.
Before the report was released, China Wednesday reiterated its firm opposition to the document and warned that it could harm the country's cooperation with the UN. We have made it very clear to the high commissioner and other officials that we strongly oppose this report, Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun told reporters. We all know that the so-called Xinjiang issue is a completely fabricated lie with political motives and its purpose is to undermine China's stability and obstruct its development,” Zhang insisted.
Bachelet also said last week she had received a letter signed by some 40 countries asking her not to publish the report. She visited China in May.