The top United Nations human rights official said on Monday she hoped to agree terms for a visit this year to China, including its Xinjiang region, to look into reports of serious violations against Muslim Uyghurs.
It was the first time that Michelle Bachelet had publicly suggested a timeline for the visit, for which her office has been negotiating the terms since September 2018.
China’s U.N. mission in Geneva, said Xinjiang and Hong Kong were “inalienable parts of China’s territory” and that it brooked “no interference by external forces”, but made no comment on her visit.
Bachelet is under growing pressure from Western states to secure unfettered access to Xinjiang, where activists say more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have been held in camps, some of them mistreated or subject to forced labour.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued reports this year documenting practices that they said could meet criteria for crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.
TEST OF HONG KONG JUDICIARY
Government officials in Beijing and Hong Kong say the national security law is needed to avert threats to national security, and that the rights and freedoms of ordinary Hong Kong people are being be protected.
“The High Commissioner is advised to stop making erroneous remarks against China, and refrain from interfering in China’s sovereignty and judicial independence,” Liu Yuyin, spokesman at China’s mission in Geneva, said by email.