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Xi Defends Record to UN Rights Chief   05/25 06:12

   

   BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping defended China's record to the top 
U.N. human rights official Wednesday, saying each nation should be allowed to 
find its own path based on its particular circumstances and criticizing those 
countries that lecture others on human rights and politicize the issue.

   "Through long-term and persistent hard work, China has successfully embarked 
on a path of human rights development that conforms to the trend of the times 
and suits its own national conditions," Xi told U.N. human rights chief 
Michelle Bachelet in a video call, according to an online report by state 
broadcaster CCTV.

   Bachelet is in the middle of a six-day visit to China that includes stops in 
Xinjiang, a remote northwestern region where the Chinese government has been 
accused of human rights violations and genocide against Uyghurs and other 
ethnic groups. Her trip has been criticized by the U.S. and others, who think 
that China will limit whom she can talk to, stage manage her trip and use it 
for propaganda purposes.

   The CCTV report didn't mention Xinjiang or the Communist Party's often harsh 
treatment of dissidents and activists and ethnic groups in Tibet and Inner 
Mongolia.

   Xi laid out the long-ruling Communist Party's position on human rights, 
which argues that China should find its own path and not completely copy the 
models of other countries and rejects outside criticism as interference in its 
domestic affairs. It also says that bettering the lives of people is the most 
important human right for developing countries, and points to China's success 
in lifting people out of poverty.

   "On the issue of human rights, there is no perfect 'utopia,'" he was quoted 
as saying. "We don't need 'masters' that dictate to other countries, let alone 
politicizing and turning the human rights issue into a tool, practicing double 
standards and interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the 
pretext of human rights."

   Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said it had been 
valuable to have direct talks with Xi and senior Chinese officials on human 
rights issues and concerns in China and globally, a tweet from her U.N. office 
said.

   CCTV quoted Bachelet as telling Xi, "I admire China's efforts and 
achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights and achieving 
economic and social development."

   U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday in Washington, 
D.C., that the United States does not expect China to allow the access Bachelet 
would need to get an unmanipulated view of the human rights situation in 
Xinjiang.

   "We think it was a mistake to agree to a visit under these circumstances 
where the high commissioner will not be granted the type of unhindered access, 
free and full access that would be required to do a complete assessment and to 
come back with a full picture of the atrocities, the crimes against humanity, 
and the genocide ongoing in Xinjiang," he said.

   Bachelet started her trip in Guangzhou, a city in southeastern China, where 
she met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and had a video conference with Du 
Hangwei, the vice minister of public security. Her itinerary also includes the 
cities of Kashgar and Urumqi, both in Xinjiang.

   In a speech to students at the Institute for Human Rights at Guangzhou 
University, she noted that young people are influencing debate on issues such 
as equality, climate action and human rights and are holding governments and 
businesses accountable for their actions.

   "A fundamental ingredient for youth to be able to play that role is an open 
civic space where they can voice their opinions and seek change," she said, 
according to a U.N. text of her speech.

 
 
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