West demands publication of UN’s long-awaited Xinjiang report

Pressure to release a long-awaited Xinjiang report is mounting on the UN’s rights head, as her recent six-day visit to China left activists, western governments and commentators unsatisfied. The report, which Michelle Bachelet said was being finalised late last year, is believed to contain evidence of China’s alleged human rights abuses of its Uyghur ethnic minority group in Xinjiang. In a press conference on Saturday, Bachelet promised to “follow up” on instances of China’s human rights abuse, calling for the authorities in Beijing to review their counter-terrorism policies in the…

UN urges China to review counter-terrorism policies after official visit

The UN’s top human rights official says she has urged the Chinese government to review its counter-terrorism policies in Xinjiang and appealed for information about missing Uyghurs at the end of a six-day visit to China. Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, addressed more than 120 reporters on Zoom from Guangzhou, but was criticised by rights groups for giving few details or condemnation of China while readily giving long unrelated statements about US issues. Within hours of the press conference, China’s vice foreign minister, Ma Zhaoxu, told…

UN human rights commissioner criticised over planned Xinjiang visit

A group of 40 politicians from 18 countries have told the UN high commissioner for human rights that she risks causing lasting damage to the credibility of her office if she goes ahead with a visit to China’s Xinjiang region next week. Michelle Bachelet is scheduled to visit Kashgar and Ürümqi in Xinjiang during her trip, which starts on Monday. Human rights organisations say China has forced an estimated 1 million or more people into internment camps and prisons in the region. The US and a number of other western…

Xinjiang: UN team in China ahead of visit by human rights chief

A United Nations team is in China ahead of a visit to Xinjiang, in preparation for the human rights commissioner’s long sought inspection expected next month. The delegation was quarantining in Guangzhou, the South China Morning Post reported, before heading to Xinjiang. The five-member team was there “at the invitation of the [Chinese] government” said Liz Throssell, UN human rights spokesperson, the Post reported. The UN office of the human rights commissioner (OHRC) has been negotiating with the Chinese government since 2018 seeking to visit Xinjiang with “unfettered, meaningful access”…

Hospitals under fire and hard-won abortion rights: human rights this fortnight – in pictures

Rama, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee, holds a smiley face as she sits in the office of an organisation that cares for girls who have been forced into early marriage in Saadnayel, Lebanon. Rama was married at 14, divorced a year later and is a mother to an 18-month-old baby. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/DPA The Guardian

‘Openly British’ Kenworthy signs off with criticism of IOC over human rights

The British freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, said on Saturday the International Olympic Committee should take a host nation’s stance on human rights issues into consideration when awarding the Games. Rights groups have long criticised the IOC’s choice of Beijing as 2022 host and several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, mounted diplomatic boycotts to protest against China’s treatment of its minority Muslim Uyghur population, which the US deems to be genocide. China denies allegations of human rights abuses. “I am absolutely a…

Alexa whistleblower demands Amazon apology after being jailed and tortured

A whistleblower who exposed illegal working conditions in a factory making Amazon’s Alexa devices says he was tortured before being jailed by Chinese authorities. Tang Mingfang, 43, was jailed after he revealed how the Foxconn factory in the southern Chinese city of Hengyang used schoolchildren working illegally long hours to manufacture Amazon’s popular Echo, Echo Dot and Kindle devices. Now, after spending two years in prison, he is appealing to the higher courts to clear his name. He has taken the difficult decision to talk publicly, despite being aware of…

British judges have no place in Hong Kong

The Orwellian reports coming from Hong Kong will come as no surprise to those of us who have been watching its legal system deteriorate (New Hong Kong barristers’ chief warns profession to stay out of politics, 21 January). Since the draconian national security law was imposed in 2020, Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong has been increasingly flagrant. As shocking as the attack on the rule of law in Hong Kong is, we should also be asking why British judges are still propping up a broken system. British judges have sat…

The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy

Joe Biden marked his first anniversary in office with a gaffe over Ukraine that undid weeks of disciplined messaging and diplomatic preparation. The president’s suggestion that a “minor incursion” by Russia might split Nato over how to respond sent the White House into frantic damage limitation mode. Officials insisted Biden had been referring to cyber attacks and paramilitary activities and not Russian troops crossing the border. That failed to entirely calm nerves in Kyiv and other European capitals, especially as Biden also raised eyebrows by predicting that Vladimir Putin would…

Chinese activist told he could not visit dying wife is re-arrested

Yang Maodong held ‘on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power’ two days after death of his wife A Chinese human rights activist and writer who was detained following repeated pleas to be allowed to visit his terminally ill wife has been formally arrested days after she died for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power”. Yang Maodong, who goes by the pen-name Guo Feixiong, was formally arrested on Wednesday last week by the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, two days after the death of his wife, Zhang Qing. Continue reading… The…