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…

Bachelet’s Xinjiang visit is emblematic of the growing divide between China and the west

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s six-day trip to China began with some controversy, and ended with even more. On Saturday, western journalists left the virtual press conference without satisfying answers. Some complained Bachelet had dwelled too much on the US’s human rights problems but not China’s. Knowing a top envoy from the UN would be restrained in her tone and delivery, Beijing took the occasion to say Bachelet’s trip was an opportunity “to observe and experience first-hand the real Xinjiang”. State media claimed that Bachelet had expressed “admiration” for China’s…

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 cotton found in Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss tops, researchers say

Researchers say they have found traces of Xinjiang cotton in shirts and T-shirts made by Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss, appearing to contradict the German clothing companies’ promises to revise their supply chains after allegations of widespread forced labour in the Chinese region. Recent reports have suggested more than half a million people from minority ethnic groups such as the Uyghurs have been coerced into picking cotton in Xinjiang, which provides more than 80% of China’s and a fifth of the global production of cotton. The US banned cotton imports…

Coalition accused of stalling ban on imports made using slave labour

The Morrison government has been accused of stalling action to prevent the importation of goods made using slave labour, as it insists it needs more time to consult business and upgrade IT systems. Despite repeatedly raising concerns about forced labour practices in China’s Xinjiang region, the government has cited “practical challenges” in a new report explaining why it cannot immediately take up recommendations of a bipartisan committee. Anti-slavery campaigners say they are “disillusioned that the ‘fair go’ values we hold as a people are not reflected in this government response”.…

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”…

UN’s Guterres says he expects China to let rights chief pay ‘credible’ visit to Xinjiang

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told leaders in Beijing he expects them to allow UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to make a “credible” visit to China including a stop in the Xinjiang region, his spokesman said on Saturday. Guterres met with Chinese president Xi Jinping and foreign minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, according to a readout of their talks. The UN chief “expressed his expectation that the contacts between the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chinese authorities will allow…

China bags Winter Games gold and a rap for ‘cynical ploy’ of Uyghur torchbearer

Glory on the track. Growing criticism off it. China ended day one of these Winter Olympics by celebrating a thrilling first gold medal, while also finding itself facing growing condemnation from human rights groups after selecting a Uyghur to light the Olympic flame. The small number of fans in the Capital Indoor Stadium because of Covid-19 regulations certainly made themselves heard as China’s mixed relay quartet held off Italy by the width of a blade in a dramatic short-track speedskating final. Afterwards, Wu Dajing, the country’s most famous active winter…

Sport is indifferent to the Uyghur genocide: the Warriors investor said the quiet part out loud

The US state department has described the Uyghur human rights issue as a genocide and the largest-scale detention of an ethno-religious community since the second world war. And yet to hear one leading professional sports owner tell it, “nobody cares”. Chamath Palihapitiya, a billionaire investor in the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, used the most recent episode of his All-In podcast to weigh in, dismissing the Uyghur crisis as “a very hard, ugly truth” that’s “below my line”. When his co-host David Sacks countered that the Uyghurs were a great, if…

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