Xi Defends Record to UN Rights Chief 05/25 06:12
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping defended China's record to the top
U.N. human rights official Wednesday, saying each nation should be allowed to
find its own path based on its particular circumstances and criticizing those
countries that lecture others on human rights and politicize the issue.
"Through long-term and persistent hard work, China has successfully embarked
on a path of human rights development that conforms to the trend of the times
and suits its own national conditions," Xi told U.N. human rights chief
Michelle Bachelet in a video call, according to an online report by state
Bachelet is in the middle of a six-day visit to China that includes stops in
Xinjiang, a remote northwestern region where the Chinese government has been
accused of human rights violations and genocide against Uyghurs and other
ethnic groups. Her trip has been criticized by the U.S. and others, who think
that China will limit whom she can talk to, stage manage her trip and use it
for propaganda purposes.
The CCTV report didn't mention Xinjiang or the Communist Party's often harsh
treatment of dissidents and activists and ethnic groups in Tibet and Inner
Xi laid out the long-ruling Communist Party's position on human rights,
which argues that China should find its own path and not completely copy the
models of other countries and rejects outside criticism as interference in its
domestic affairs. It also says that bettering the lives of people is the most
important human right for developing countries, and points to China's success
in lifting people out of poverty.
"On the issue of human rights, there is no perfect 'utopia,'" he was quoted
as saying. "We don't need 'masters' that dictate to other countries, let alone
politicizing and turning the human rights issue into a tool, practicing double
standards and interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the
pretext of human rights."
Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said it had been
valuable to have direct talks with Xi and senior Chinese officials on human
rights issues and concerns in China and globally, a tweet from her U.N. office
CCTV quoted Bachelet as telling Xi, "I admire China's efforts and
achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights and achieving
economic and social development."
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday in Washington,
D.C., that the United States does not expect China to allow the access Bachelet
would need to get an unmanipulated view of the human rights situation in
"We think it was a mistake to agree to a visit under these circumstances
where the high commissioner will not be granted the type of unhindered access,
free and full access that would be required to do a complete assessment and to
come back with a full picture of the atrocities, the crimes against humanity,
and the genocide ongoing in Xinjiang," he said.
Bachelet started her trip in Guangzhou, a city in southeastern China, where
she met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and had a video conference with Du
Hangwei, the vice minister of public security. Her itinerary also includes the
cities of Kashgar and Urumqi, both in Xinjiang.
In a speech to students at the Institute for Human Rights at Guangzhou
University, she noted that young people are influencing debate on issues such
as equality, climate action and human rights and are holding governments and
businesses accountable for their actions.
"A fundamental ingredient for youth to be able to play that role is an open
civic space where they can voice their opinions and seek change," she said,
according to a U.N. text of her speech.