China opposes politicizing human rights as Bachelet steps down as UN human right chief
Published: Aug 31, 2022 09:54 PM
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech on global human rights developments during a session of the Human Rights Council on June 21, 2021 in Geneva. Photo: VCG

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech on global human rights developments during a session of the Human Rights Council on June 21, 2021 in Geneva. Photo: VCG

China firmly opposes the release of the so-called Xinjiang-related report by the UN Human Rights Office, which is a pure stunt orchestrated by the US and a few other Western countries, and hopes the high commissioner will make the right decision, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday, the last day that Michelle Bachelet serves as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

When asked about the end of Bachelet's tenure and the so-called Xinjiang report, Zhao said at a routine press briefing that China always maintains that the high commissioner should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, strictly follow the mandate of the UN General Assembly and carry out the work with the principles of objectivity, impartiality, non-selectivity and non-politicization.

Zhao said China attaches importance to balanced promotion of all types of human rights, to dialogue and cooperation with member states, and opposes the wrong practice of politicizing human rights and double standards.

Bachelet visited Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region in May amid a wave of US and Western disinformation campaigning against China, the first trip to China by a UN high commissioner for human rights since 2005. She took office on September 1, 2018, and announced in June that she would not seek a second term.

The UN secretary-general's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday announced that Bachelet will be temporarily replaced by Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Youssef Al Nashif until a successor is named, AFP reported. 

Chinese experts said that Bachelet's departure may be connected with the Western pressure over the "Xinjiang report," which has already been hyped up and weaponized. At a time when the West is smearing China with "human rights issues" in Xinjiang, it is increasingly difficult to remain objective, and it is hoped that Bachelet's successor can resist the pressure, they said. 

According to AFP, Bachelet has been seriously criticized by the US, which groundlessly and ridiculously accused China of committing "genocide" in Xinjiang. 

Britain's ambassador to the human rights council Rita French urged Bachelet to publish her report, as it is "essential for all of us that no state is free from objective scrutiny on its human rights record."

The US and some Western countries have preconceived an outcome that would damage China's image, and hope it would be confirmed by Bachelet's report, which undermines fairness and objectivity, said Wang Jiang, an expert at the Institute of China's Borderland Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Chang Jian, director of the Research Center for Human Rights at the Tianjin-based Nankai University, told the Global Times that the pressure on Bachelet is actually a malicious attempt to contain China under the veil of "human rights." 

"People should not distract their attention from real human rights issues because of fabricated and hyped issues like disinformation about Xinjiang," Wang said.

At present, people in Xinjiang region enjoy safety and stability, and live and work in peace and happiness. The human rights of all ethnic groups are fully protected. There is no "enforced disappearance" in Xinjiang at all, noted a spokesperson of the Permanent Mission of China to the UN

The US has always portrayed itself as a "human rights judge" and "human rights defender." But the fact is the country has a poor human rights record that gets worse with each passing day, the spokesperson said. 

The US should rather earnestly safeguard the human rights of its own people, stop spreading false information and lies on the issue of human rights, stop using human rights as a tool to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, and stop being a stumbling block to international human rights cooperation, the spokesperson noted.