“I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and deradicalisation measures under broad application, particularly the impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities,” she said during an online press briefing on Saturday.
China denies all accusations of abuse
Bachelet’s access was limited as China arranged for her to travel in a “geslote kring” — isolating people within a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of Covid-19 — with no foreign press.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington “remains concerned” about Bachelet’s trip to China.
“We are concerned the conditions Beijing authorities imposed on the visit did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in (Sjina), including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing,” Blinken said in a statement late on Saturday.
The United States was “further troubled” by reports Xinjiang residents were pressured not to complain about conditions in the area.
“The High Commissioner should have been allowed confidential meetings with family members of Uyghur and other ethnic minority diaspora communities in Xinjiang who are not in detention facilities but are forbidden from traveling out of the region,” hy het gesê.
Rights groups and Western countries worry that China will use her trip as an endorsement of its rights record. US State Department spokesman Ned Price had said on Tuesday it was “a mistake to agree to a visit under the circumstances.”
China initially denied the existence of any detention camps in Xinjiang but in 2018 said it had set up “vocational training centers” necessary to curb what it said was terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism in the region.
Bachelet said she raised with the Chinese government the lack of independent judicial oversight on the operation of the centers and allegations of the use of force, ill-treatment and severe restrictions on religious practice.
In 2019, Xinjiang Governor Shohrat Zakir said all trainees had “graduated.”
During the media briefing, Bachelet also described as “deeply worrying” the detention in Hong Kong of activists, lawyers and journalists.