(Beijing) “Pure smoke”: The Chinese propaganda machine has so far completely captured the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights to China, and denounced the activists in defense of the Uyghurs.
Posted yesterday at 1:22 PM.
The stay of Michelle Bachelet, as a result of difficult negotiations between the United Nations and Beijing, has led in particular to Xinjiang (northwest), where the authorities are accused of repressing Muslim minorities.
The area has long been the scene of attacks, according to the government, by Uyghur separatists and Islamists. In the name of fighting terrorism, the area has been under strict surveillance for several years.
Western studies accuse Beijing of having detained more than one million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in “re-education camps”, even by imposing “forced labor” or “forced sterilization”. The United States is talking about “genocide”.
China denounces biased reports and talks about “vocational training centers” aimed at cracking down on extremism. She denied any “forced sterilization”, saying nothing more or less to implement the national policy to limit births.
For Uyghur diaspora NGOs and activists, Michelle Bachelet has allowed herself to be involved in a communication process by the Communist Party (CCP).
Thus, the official Chinese media reported at length that the 70-year-old former Chilean president would have praised China’s progress in the field of human rights.
Amnesty International activist Alkan Akkad told AFP that it was “obvious” that Beijing was using the visit “to promote its own narrative and defend its poor human rights record”.
The goal is to “show the world” [que la Chine] “You could commit a prominent UN human rights official to her will,” Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang told AFP.
Michelle Bachelet has remained virtually silent this week. But on Saturday evening, before leaving China, she must hold a long-awaited online press conference.
She is expected to be bombarded with questions about her freedom of movement, her interactions with local residents and her access to detention centers in Xinjiang.
London-based Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmud already denounces “window decorating”. “This is not the impartial and independent investigation we were promised,” she told AFP.
Instead, she adds, Beijing is seeking “a blank check to continue repression, surveillance, torture and genocide.”
Michelle Bachelet has been in Xinjiang since Tuesday. It was scheduled to travel to the regional capital Urumqi and the city of Kashgar, according to its services.
What do you do exactly? It’s hard to tell, because in the name of preventing COVID-19, it is visited in a health bubble that excludes the foreign press.
China is filling the media vacuum with glowing official accounts of its meetings with Xi Jinping or Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Thus, the New China Agency confirmed that M.I Bachelet, in front of the latter, “congratulated China on its important achievements in terms of… […] protection of human rights.”
In contact with AFP, the UN services neither confirmed nor denied that MI Bachelet has already made these observations.
But neither the United Nations nor China in any case specifically mentioned Xinjiang in their statements.
Norway-based Uyghur activist Abdoulaye Ayoub said he was “disappointed” that Michelle Bachelet appeared to have allowed Beijing to “misinterpret” his remarks.
“They used it in their propaganda,” he told AFP.
Chinese media also broadcast abundant images of the former Chilean president presenting with a set of quotes from Xi Jinping on human rights.
And Beijing confirmed it since the beginning of the week: M . visitI Bachelet is not an investigation, but an opportunity to “clear the disinformation” of which China considers itself a victim.
“She must have the courage and the political integrity to speak up when her words and her visit are crooked,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at SOAS University in London.
“If she was not willing and unable to do so, she should not have gone.”
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