US Criticizes UN Visit to China 06/16 09:44
BEIJING (AP) --- The U.N. counterterrorism chief visited Xinjiang last week
despite protests from the U.S. and a rights group that the trip would be
inappropriate in light of the human rights conditions in China's far west
Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and Xinjiang from Thursday
to Saturday last week, said a statement Sunday from the Chinese foreign
ministry. Voronkov and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng exchanged views
on international counterterrorism efforts and reached "broad consensus," the
The U.S., researchers and rights groups estimate that as many as 1 million
ethnic Muslims may be arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur and
Kazakh minority groups.
Former detainees have told The Associated Press that they were held without
charge in "reeducation centers" where they were forced to denounce their faith
and pledge loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. The Chinese government denies
there is widespread abuse in these centers, which it says are vocational
training schools aimed at combatting extremism and helping Xinjiang residents
gain employable skills.
In a conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday,
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan conveyed "deep concerns" about
"Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and
other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not," Sullivan
said, adding that Voronkov was putting the U.N.'s reputation and credibility at
risk "by lending credence to these false claims."
Human Rights Watch said Friday the U.N. should have sent a human rights
expert instead of a counterterrorism official.
China's foreign ministry did not provide details of Voronkov's trip to
"Counterterrorism cannot be linked to specific countries, ethnic groups and
religions," the ministry said in its Sunday statement. "It cannot adopt 'double
standards.' China supports the U.N. in playing a central coordination role in
international counterterrorism affairs."