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Diplomats, activists decry Chinese 'threats' at UN rights council

By AFP

Added 1st April 2019 07:09 PM

Chinese officials, he said in a statement, are now "using public as well as private pressure to block concerted international action."

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Chinese officials, he said in a statement, are now "using public as well as private pressure to block concerted international action."

Diplomats and activists denounced Monday intense Chinese lobbying, pressure and even threats to rein in criticism of Beijing during last month's session of the UN Human Rights Council.
 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) charged that the Chinese mission in Geneva had sent a letter to a number of missions urging them to stay away from a US-organised event on March 13 about China's treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.
 
The letter, signed by Ambassador Yu Jianhua and seen by AFP, tells countries "not to co-sponsor, participate in or be present at this side event ... in the interest of our bilateral relations and continued multilateral cooperation."
 
HRW slammed these "threats", with the organisation's Geneva director John Fisher warning that the public outcry over the treatment of Muslim minorities had "sent China into panic mode."
 
Chinese officials, he said in a statement, are now "using public as well as private pressure to block concerted international action."
 
The Chinese mission did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation and comment.
 
But several diplomats confirmed to AFP that their missions had received the letter ahead of the event.
 
It took place on the sidelines of the rights council's three-week session and focused on allegations that upwards of one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic minorities are being held in detention centres in Xinjiang.
 
China maintains instead that the Uighurs and others are at "campuses" for vocational training set up to counter radicalisation.

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