China rallies support over Xinjiang report at UN rights meeting

China rallies support over Xinjiang report at UN rights meeting

GENEVA: China attacked a report issued by the UN rights office (OHCHR) on alleged abuses in Xinjiang on Tuesday (Sep 13) and read out a statement backed by around 20 other countries criticising the UN body for releasing it and saying it had no right to do so.

But initial support for Beijing’s so-called joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council was thinner than some observers had expected – a fact that might embolden China’s critics.

The Aug 31 report, which China had asked the UN not to publish, stipulated that “serious human rights violations have been committed” and said the detention of Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity. China vigorously denies any abuse.

Democracies are now mulling a possible historic motion against China including a possible investigative mechanism at an ongoing meeting of the Geneva council as a result, diplomats told Reuters. The United States, Canada and the European Union were among those welcoming the Xinjiang findings and expressing concern in the council’s Tuesday session where countries are discussing the report for the first time.

But Chen Xu, China’s ambassador, rejected it as an erroneous “smear”, saying it was based on lies.

“We are deeply concerned that the OHCHR, without the authorisation of the Human Rights Council, and the consent of the country concerned, released the so-called assessment on Xinjiang, China … ,” he said in a separate joint statement.

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