UN Counter terrorism Chief to Visit Xinjiang despite Objections from US
The United Nations counter terrorism chief’s visit to Xinjiang, which is China’s autonomous territory in the northwest, has been widely objected by the US and the other western countries.
Vladimir Voronkov’s visit to Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi comes at the time when it is widely believed that China is setting up repressive campaigns against the Turkic minority groups Uighurs and other Muslims in the name of abolishing terrorism.
Xinjiang is a home to many ethnic minority groups including the Turkic Uyghur people, who have been affiliated with the general region of Central Asia and East Asia. Rich in oil and mineral reserves, the country is the largest natural gas-producing region in China.
Recently, there have been many cases of disappearances and arbitrary detentions of Muslims in the territory, and the US officials believe the repressing campaign to be the reason behind it. Thereby, they have been continuously pushing China to grant access to investigate the matter that has become an area of real concern for the population at the global level.
Raising concerns on Voronkov’s visit to the territory, US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan spoke with UN secretary-general António Guterres on Friday.
In view of unprecedented campaigns underway in Xinjiang against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims, Sullivan said that the trip seemed completely inappropriate. He further condemned Beijing’s practices, adding “The UN’s topmost counter terrorism official is putting at risk the UN’s reputation and credibility on counter terrorism and human rights by lending credence to these false claims.”
Almost all the western countries have condemned China’s setting up of detention complexes. However, the officials fear that Voronkov’s visit to Xinjiang would validate the cause for which China has set up the detention camps. Although the Chinese officials describe the camps as “education training centres” helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, but what is done inside is more of a human rights abuse.
One of China’s delegates cleared US’ worries that other human rights officials of the UN could also visit Beijing and Xinjiang in the future. He added, “We hope to define a time which is convenient to both sides”.
Although the US officials very well know the fact that China would always favour its idea of detention camps, promoting it as good terrorism prevention in Xinjiang, they are still concerned over the extreme circumstances that the population has to go through. What they want from the UN security council is to place strict orders to close the detention camps that they have portrayed as political education centres, hindering the rights of its citizens.
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