The United States, Germany and Britain have clashed with China at the UN over the treatment of Uyghurs and most other Muslim groups in Xinjiang, as they pressed for a virtual event that Beijing lobbied UN member states to stay away. .
“We are standing up until the Chinese government stops the crimes against humanity and the genocide of Uyghurs and other minorities,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the event.
The United Nations, several Western countries, academics and rights groups say thousands of Uighurs have been re-sent to education camps in the far west. China acknowledges the existence of the camps but says it will provide vocational training centers to deal with hardline groups.
“People are being tortured in Xinjiang. Women are being forcibly disinfected, ”said Thomas-Greenfield.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Calamard said at the event that about one million Uighurs and predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities had been detained indiscriminately.
In a note issued to UN member states last week, China’s UN mission dismissed the allegations as “false and misleading” and accused the organizing countries of “inciting conflict with China.”
It called on countries not to “participate in this anti-China event”, but a Chinese diplomat spoke on Wednesday about the allegations.
Chinese diplomat Guo Jiaqun said, “China has nothing to hide about Xinjiang. “Xinjiang is always open. We welcome everyone to visit Xinjiang but we oppose any kind of investigation based on lies and guilt. ”
The event was hosted by Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom and co-sponsored by Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries.
Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations, told the meeting that there was evidence of voluntary detention, disappearances and torture. There have been reports of more forced labor and sterilization. “
Call for access
There have been reports of Muslim cemeteries being destroyed, children and Uighurs being forced to eat pork in violation of their religious beliefs, and children and Uighurs being reportedly separated.
“It simply came to our notice then. And Woodward called on China to request immediate, meaningful and uninterrupted access to human rights and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“We urge China to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we urge China to dismantle the detention camp,” German Ambassador Christoph Huygen said.
If he asks China, “If you have no secrets, why don’t you finally give the High Commissioner for Human Rights unhindered access?”
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet was not present at the ceremony, and Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, noted her absence.
“I’m sure she’s busy,” he said. “You know we are all here. But I have the same national order to protect human rights, and I can’t think of anything more important than joining here today. ”
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Bachelet had expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
“The High Commissioner has continued to coordinate with the Chinese authorities for such visits,” he said, adding that the Bachelor’s Office has been “closely monitoring the situation by collecting and analyzing relevant information.”
Later Wednesday, at the launch of his annual report on the state of religious freedom around the world, a US State Department official accused China of “turning” Xinjiang.Free-prison“
Daniel Nadel, a senior official at the State Department’s Office of International Independence, said the population was being closely monitored.
In a news briefing, he said, “People’s movements can be closely monitored.” You have minders who are hired to keep tabs with Uyghurs.
The report also details the Chinese persecution of the Falun Gang spiritual group.