The more than 40 countries present at the UN meeting turned on China for its reported mistreatment, repression, and torture of the Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It is estimated that roughly one million people are confined in camps.
China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun did not take too kindly to the confrontation. He spoke soon after, denouncing “the groundless accusations” and unfounded “lies” and accusing the United States and a few other unnamed signatories of the statement of poisoning the atmosphere of cooperation and “using human rights as a pretext for political maneuvering to provoke confrontation.” He strongly defended the development of Xinjiang, saying the lives of its people are getting better by the day and “your plot to obstruct China’s development is doomed to failure.”
The confrontation only served to further increase tension between China and the West over human rights. It has increased tension between the U.S. and China with China having to face questions about it being responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak, trade, Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere read the statement criticizing China signed by the 43 countries. This is the third time in three years that the U.S. and mainly European nations used the human rights committee meeting to go after China on its repression of the Uyghurs.
“We have seen an increasing number of reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations,” the 43 countries said in their statement, “including reports documenting torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced separation of children.”
“There are severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association and expression as well as on Uyghur culture,” they said. “Widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uyghurs and members of other minorities.”
Chinese authorities have scaled back many of the most draconian and visible aspects of the region’s high-tech police state, including razor wire that once ringed public buildings, AP reported.
– Ella Breedlove