‘Questions and concerns’ raised with China over treatment of Uyghur people


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says she has raised “questions and concerns” with Chinese authorities over the treatment of Uyghur people and other minorities in Xinjiang.

Michelle Bachelet also said her visit to China, the first by a UN human rights commissioner in 17 years following a two-year negotiation, was “not an investigation”.

She said: “In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application – particularly their impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.”

Human rights agencies claim around a million Uyghurs and other minorities have been detained in Xinjiang, and that they have been subject to torture and forced labour.

Michelle Bachelet speaks during an online news conference in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong Province

The US government has described China’s policies as genocide – a claim that China has called “the lie of the century”.

The high commissioner visited China for six days, including two days in Xinjiang. There, she toured cotton fields, the old city of Kashgar and an exhibition on “counter terrorism and de-radicalisation”, according to Ma Zhaoxu, vice foreign minister.

Uyghurs living abroad were sceptical that the UN would uncover the truth.

More on Uyghur

Abdurrahman Kasim left China in 2014 and now lives in Turkey.

“I do not have much expectation,” he told Sky News.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, A screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, holds a virtual meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Xi defended China's record to the top U.N. human rights official Wednesday, saying each nation should be allowed to find its own path based on its particular circumstances and criticizing those countries that lecture others on human rights and politicize the issue. (Yue Yuewei
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently held a virtual meeting with Ms Bachelet. Pic: Xinhua News Agency

“China was doing the same when I lived there. When high-level officials came in towns or villages, they would stage a show, with songs and they are used to this. China is like that, they are used to deceiving people with their lies. They are trying to deceive the whole world but they will not succeed.”


He said he had asked the United Nations to raise the issue of his own family with Chinese authorities.

He said: “In 2017, my father and my two brothers were arrested and imprisoned, all because I went abroad and did not come back. My daughter is with my mother, I know nothing more. My father and brothers are imprisoned but not my mother, daughter and sister.

“Where are they? Are they alive? Or dead?

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Special: China’s Long Reach

In 2018, Ms Bachelet announced that her office would investigate alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

In December, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the report was being finalised and would be released shortly. The High Commissioner did not say when the report would be published at her news conference in Guangzhou, south China.

Find out more about Uyghurs:
How China is persecuting Uyghur people abroad

Uyghurs tortured and beaten to death in Xinjiang – ex-Chinese police officer


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