Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his country’s human rights path which he says suits its own condition, during his virtual meeting on Wednesday (25 May) with visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
“Deviating from reality and copying wholesale the institutional model of other countries will not only fit badly with the local conditions, but also bring disastrous consequences,” the Xinhua state news agency quoted Xi.
“In the end, it is the broad masses of the people who will suffer,” he said.
Ms. Bachelet is currently on a six-day trip in China which will include a visit to the far western region of Xinjiang, where her office said last year it believes mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs have been unlawfully detained, mistreated and forced to work.
While state media covered her video call with the president, there was no mention of her planned visit to the western region.
Her visit has drawn criticism from rights groups and the United States has called it a mistake.
Critics have said they did not believe Ms. Bachelet would be granted necessary access to make a full assessment of the rights situation in Xinjiang.
Ms. Bachelet has called for unfettered access in Xinjiang, but China’s foreign ministry has said her visit would be conducted in a “closed loop”, referring to a way of isolating people within a “bubble” to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
China denies all accusations of abuses in Xinjiang and characterised its detention camps as vocational training centres.
On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said it was “a mistake to agree to a visit under the circumstances”. (Source: CNA)