-South China Morning Post
The UN human rights chief will imminently visit China for “six to seven days”, with her Geneva office confirming the trip after years of negotiations.
Michelle Bachelet’s trip will include a visit to Xinjiang, the far western region where the Chinese government has been accused of widespread persecution of Uygurs and other ethnic Muslims.
While a spokeswoman in the office said no exact date had been officially confirmed, Bloomberg earlier reported that it will take place next week.
UN human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told the South China Morning Post the trip will last for six to seven days.
“The government of China has special arrangements for high-level visits by foreign dignitaries, so the high commissioner will not be required to undergo quarantine,” she said.
“The high commissioner will be visiting Xinjiang and will meet with senior government officials,” she added.
Bloomberg also reported that the Chilean will meet foreign diplomats in China during a virtual meeting.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Wednesday said that “China welcomes Ms Bachelet … to visit China and Xinjiang in May. We will release relevant news in due course”.
While Bachelet will not need to undergo quarantine, her advance team of five – which arrived in the southern city of Guangzhou last month – had to endure 17 days of hotel isolation upon entering the country last month.
Bachelet had been negotiating with Beijing since September 2018 for a visit to Xinjiang, where some 1 million mainly Uygur Muslims are alleged to have been held in mass detention camps. China rejects all such claims and calls them politically motivated.
In March, the former Chilean president announced that she had “recently reached an agreement with the government of China for a visit” in May, including to Xinjiang.
The parameters of a visit were a stumbling block for years, with Bachelet’s office repeatedly insisting that she would require “unfettered, meaningful access, including unsupervised interviews with civil society”. Click here to read more.