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China rejects UN report on Uyghur rights abuses in Xinjiang, calls it 'completely illegal, void'

The UN said that "serious human rights violations have been committed" in Xinjiang "in the context of the government's application of counter-terrorism and counter-'extremism' strategies".

China rejects UN report on Uyghur rights abuses in Xinjiang, calls it 'completely illegal, void'

New Delhi: China's "arbitrary and discriminatory detention" of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity, the outgoing U.N. human rights chief said in a long-awaited report on Wednesday. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has faced criticism from some diplomats and rights groups for being too soft on China, released the report just minutes before her four-year term ended. She visited China in May.

The U.N. Human Rights Office said in its 48-page report that "serious human rights violations have been committed" in Xinjiang "in the context of the government's application of counter-terrorism and counter-'extremism' strategies".

"The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups ... may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity," the U.N. office said.

It recommended the Chinese government take prompt steps to release all those detained in training centers, prisons or detention facilities.

"There are credible indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies since 2017," the office said.

It added that a lack of government data "makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the full extent of current enforcement of these policies and associated violations of reproductive rights."

China has vigorously denied any abuses in Xinjiang and issued a 131-page response to the U.N. report.

Speaking ahead of the report's release, China's ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Zhang Jun, said Beijing had repeatedly voiced opposition to it. He said the U.N. human rights chief should not interfere in China's internal affairs.

"We all know, so well, that the so-called Xinjiang issue is a completely fabricated lie out of political motivations and its purpose definitely is to undermine China's stability and to obstruct China's development," Zhang told reporters on Wednesday.

"We do not think it will produce any good to anyone, it simply undermines the cooperation between the United Nations and a member state," he said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the report as "completely illegal and void".

"This proves once again that the OHCHR has become a thug and accomplice of the U.S. and the West," he said during a regular daily briefing on Thursday in Beijing, where he was asked repeatedly about the report.

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