06/17/2019, 12.40
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UN visit to Uyghur camps just Chinese "deception"

by Wang Zhicheng

Last week, the head of the UN anti-terrorism chief, Vladimir Voronkov, was given a "guided" tour of the Xinjiang detention camps, but made no statements. I Michele Bachelet, head of the UN Commission for Human Rights also invited to visit. Bachelet will accepts if Beijing does not place any conditions. China fears international criticism at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, scheduled from 24 June to 12 July.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China's calls on UN members to visit Xinjiang and the Uyghur detention camps risks being “used by China to deceive the international community and to justify its crimes against humanity in East Turkestan committed upon the Uyghur people," says Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, an association based in Munich.

From June 13 to 15, UN anti-terrorism chief, Vladimir Voronkov, visited the predominantly Muslim region, which Beijing seeks to dominate with an iron fist.

For months the UN has been inviting officials to visit Xinjiang to verify abuses against the Uyghurs, the local Turkic population.

China is accused of having detained at least one million Uyghurs against their will to be brainwashed to weaken their attachment to the Islamic faith considered a "radicalization".

Despite the testimony of many survivors, Beijing has always maintained that the camps are only "re-education and training centers".

Every step of the tour given to Voronkov – who published no statement following his visit - was by China. Many human rights organizations accuse Beijing of organizing these visits to silence international criticism of its acts.

China also offered Michele Bachelet, head of the UN Human Rights Commission, to go to Xinjiang and "see the re-education and training centers for herself".

The invitation was received last June 15. But the UN High Commissioner has declared that she will agree only if Beijing gives free unconditional access to the camps and if it will guarantee that the Commissioner can speak freely with any intern or guard, without any censorship.

For Human Rights Watch, China's calls in recent weeks are an attempt to curb the criticisms of human rights violations that may emerge from the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, scheduled from June 24 to  July 12.

Even Dolkun Isa defines China's invitations as “insincere at best”: if Beijing had nothing to hide in Xinjiang - he added - "he would have invited [Bachelet] a long time ago".

"A visit is worth it only if China unconditionally allows an independent U.N. fact-finding mission to visit East Turkestan with unfettered access to all camps, all detainees, and to speak with any detainees and officials they want. Otherwise, this visit will only be used by China to deceive the international community ".

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