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UN Rights Office Publishes Xinjiang Report Opposed By China

GENEVA (AP) Any office of U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet published its long-awaited report on alleged rights violations in Chinas western Xinjiang region Wednesday, brushing aside Beijings demands to help keep a lid on a written report that fanned a tug-of-war for diplomatic influence with the West on the rights of the regions native Uyghurs along with other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.

The report, which Western diplomats and U.N. officials said have been all but ready for months, was published with just moments to go in Bachelets four-year term. The report was unexpected to break significant new ground beyond sweeping findings from independent advocacy groups and journalists who’ve documented concerns about human rights in Xinjiang for a long time.

But Bachelets report includes the imprimatur of the US, and the member states which make it up. The run-up to its release fueled a debate over Chinas influence at the planet body and epitomized the on-and-off diplomatic chill between Beijing and the West over human rights, among other sore spots.

Hours prior to the release, Chinas U.N. Ambassador, Zhang Jun, said Beijing remains firmly against the release.

We havent seen this report yet, but we have been completely against this type of report, we usually do not think it’ll produce worthwhile to anyone, Zhang told reporters beyond your Security Council. We’ve made it clear to the high commissioner and in several other occasions that people are firmly against this type of report.

Everybody knows so well that the so-called Xinjiang issue is really a completely fabricated lie out of political motivations, and its own purpose is certainly to undermine Chinas stability also to obstruct Chinas development, he added.

Bachelet said lately that she received pressure from both sides to create or not publish the report and resisted everything, treading an excellent line even while noting her experience with political squeeze during her two terms as president of Chile.

In June, Bachelet said she’d not seek a fresh term as rights chief, and promised the report will be released by her departure date on Aug. 31. That resulted in a swell in back-channel campaigns including letters from civil society, civilians and governments on both sides of the problem. She hinted the other day her office might miss her deadline, saying it had been attempting to release it before her exit.

Bachelet had set her sights on Xinjiang upon taking office in September 2018, but Western diplomats voiced concerns in private that over her term, she didn’t challenge China enough when other rights monitors had cited abuses against Muslim Uyghurs among others in Xinjiang.

Previously five years, the Chinese governments mass detention campaign in Xinjiang swept around million Uyghurs along with other ethnic groups right into a network of prisons and camps, which Beijing called training centers but former detainees referred to as brutal detention centers.

Beijing has since closed most of the camps, but thousands continue steadily to languish in prison on vague, secret charges.

Some countries, like the USA, have accused Beijing of committing genocide in Xinjiang.

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Lederer reported from the US.

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