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U.N. Human Rights Chief Kicks Off Closely Watched China Trip

This weekend, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet begun a six-day visit to China to investigate alleged violations of human rights. Bachelet’s visit will be closely monitored by Western officials and rights activists worried that China could somehow meddle in her findings and hide violations in the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang. The trip is a culmination of efforts by Ms. Bachelet’s office that spans several months and aims to assess allegations of rights abuses. In particular, China’s campaign to forcibly assimilate Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a region that has been marked by religious tensions for decades.

The UN human-rights agency will wait to release its findings until after the trip. In December, the agency assured the public that the assessment was being completed. The US and rights watchdogs have urged Ms. Bachelet to publish the Xinjiang report before her trip to China. This assessment will likely be a critical step in holding Beijing accountable for the human rights violations against ethnic minorities. Some of the allegations include political indoctrination, forced labor, and involuntary birth control. Some experts estimate that authorities in the region have facilitated the movement of more than a million individuals through internment camps erected in Xinjiang to hold the Uyghur Muslim ethnic minority.

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