UN ambassadors from 37 countries have released a letter defending China's treatment of Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region, in direct response to Western criticism This photo taken on June 4, 2019 shows a Uighur woman pushing an electric bicycle in a crowded street in Kashgar, and more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in internment camps that Beijing describes as "vocational education centres" aimed at steering people away from religious extremism Photo: AFP
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37 countries defend China over Xinjiang in U.N. letter

11 Comments
By Greg Baker

U.N. ambassadors from 37 countries released a letter Friday defending China's treatment of Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region, in direct response to Western criticism earlier this week.

Envoys from across the EU -- along with Australia, Canada and Japan and New Zealand -- had earlier co-signed a text denouncing China's conduct in Xinjiang, where one million people, mostly ethnic Uighurs, are reportedly being held in internment camps.

On Friday a diverse group of states -- including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and North Korea -- replied on Beijing's behalf.

"We commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights," said the letter, also signed by Myanmar, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and others.

"We take note that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," it said.

Rights groups and former inmates describe the internment sites in Xinjiang as "concentration camps" where mainly Muslim Uighurs and other minorities are being forcefully assimilated into China's majority ethnic Han society.

Echoing China's defense of the camps, Friday's letter described them as "vocational education and training centers."

"Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang," it said.

The group of ambassadors asked for the letter to be recorded as an official document of the Human Rights Council, which wrapped up its 41st session in Geneva on Friday.

The Western diplomats had made the same request.

Beijing on Thursday dismissed the Western letter as "slander."

The tit-for-tat open letters is rare at the U.N.'s top rights body, where states typically try to hammer out formal resolutions during closed-door negotiations.

After initially denying their existence, Beijing has gone on a public relations blitz in a bid to counter the global outcry against what it calls "vocational education centers" in Xinjiang.

Since last October, the local government has also organised tours of the camps for diplomats and media outlets.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has requested a fact-finding mission to Xinjiang.

Beijing has said she is welcome, but the rights office has stressed that a visit will be only possible on certain conditions -- including unfettered access to key sites.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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This is another good example of the absurdity of the United Nations. The vast majority of the nations in the world are dictatorships of one form or another. The Chinese will also be able to find many more nations with greater populations under oppressive rule to support their repressive ways.

There should be a new higher body separate from the UN that is limited to democratic states in which countries that are not democracies would be forced to reform in order to gain access to its benefits. The UN has its place but it’s importance in geopolitical terms should be de-emphasized.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Lol, looking at some of the countries on that list, it would've helped them more not to include them in the list

And many receive big financial aid from China (like the US does to get votes) from poorer nations

After initially denying their existence, Beijing has gone on a public relations blitz in a bid to counter the global outcry against what it calls "vocational education centers" in Xinjiang.

Why initially deny their existence if they truly believe it's a good thing

Why hide good things............. hmmmmm................

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@WOLFPACK

There should be a new higher body which EXCLUDE oppressor and invader of other countries.....namely US,UK,France and basically whole so called "democratic nations."

there fixed for you...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

On Friday a diverse group of states -- including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and North Korea -- replied on Beijing's behalf.

Other than being states led by autocrats, what do China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc. have in common with each other?

Answer: Trump praises their leaders and wants to be like them.

It's strange days indeed when there are movements within western democracies trying to have them replaced by some form of even greater authoritarianism. Looking at bannon-ites and their ilk especially.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some of those countries have their own poor human rights record, like Saudi, North Korea, Philippines, Myanmar, Pakistan. I am surprised Muslim countries have signed the letter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There should be a new higher body separate from the UN that is limited to democratic states in which countries that are not democracies would be forced to reform in order to gain access to its benefits.

But that should mean that these democracies also can't access the benefits of engaging with those non-democratic, resource-rich, developing economies around the world too, right? Right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and North Korea -- replied on Beijing's behalf.

What a posse to have your back. Comic book stuff.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's strange days indeed when there are movements within western democracies trying to have them replaced by some form of even greater authoritarianism. Looking at bannon-ites and their ilk especially.

We have the socialist party led by AOC and her acolytes in trying to usher in a socialist system to the US, that is a movement that will ultimately destroy the country.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

America's ally Saudi ignored the American position and went with this letter.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We have the socialist party led by AOC and her acolytes in trying to usher in a socialist system to the US, that is a movement that will ultimately destroy the country.

AOC isn't a socialist. Neither is Sanders or any other Democrats for that matter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The way I understand it is that socialist ideas will never work, ever without becoming authoritarian because at the end of the day to get all those wonderful programs off the ground, free medical, free school, etc. Some conglamorate of entities or individuals or a government will have to foot that bill. And eventually the bill will come due, and the ones who have the most invested will want a payout of some kind, and if they can't get it outright, their gonna get by some sort of authoritarian method. Is there anything to critique here? Honestly, I welcome it, peace.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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