It was a mistake that the UN human rights chief agreed to visit China, the US State Department said on Tuesday, amid concerns that the government’s restrictions on her access could undermine control of Beijing’s rights.
During her six-day trip, which began on Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will visit China’s western Xinjiang region, where her office said last year that it believes most Muslim ethnic Uighurs have been illegally detained, abused and forced to work.
The United States has branded its treatment a “genocide,” but Beijing denies any wrongdoing.
“We have no expectation that China (People’s Republic of China) will provide the necessary access required to carry out a full, unmanipulated assessment of the human rights environment in Xinjiang,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing.
“We believe it was a mistake to accept a visit under the circumstances,” Price said, adding that Bachelet would not be able to get a complete picture “of the atrocities, crimes against humanity and genocide” in the region.