• The Guardian

China's Leader Warns Against Politicization of Human Rights

May 25, 2022

Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights chief, with the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, in Guangzhou. [Image source: Deng Hua/AP]

Cited article by Helen Davidson, The Guardian


HRRC recognizes the importance of the United Nations human rights visit to China, the first in 17 years, yet is doubtful the discussions between officials will provide a pathway toward ending human rights abuses in the country. There are reports that Chinese media altered statements made by the visiting UN officials, indicating the Chinese government is not heeding the UN's advice. While investigations by international bodies can provide valuable information to prevent abuses and hold accountable those responsible, manipulated propaganda can hinder these efforts.


Article Summary


President Xi Jinping, in speaking with UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet in Xinjiang, warned against the politicization of human rights as an "excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries". Recent leaks have increased concerns over the Xinjiang region and China's treatment of Uyghurs. Many countries have termed China's treatment of Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims as genocidal. Bachelet's visit to Xinjiang has raised significant concerns over the altering of UN statements by Chinese media to serve as a form of propaganda.


Reports already show a significant difference between Chinese media and foreign media sources in the reported statements made by Bachelet. Doubts are raised as to whether the visit will dissuade or hold accountable China for the ongoing human rights abuses. Further, photographs of the visit, along with media accounts in China pose a high likelihood of whitewashing the ongoing abuses. Meanwhile, the leaked document shows photos of the Uyghur detainment camps and policies indicating aggressive treatment of those detained, as well as shoot-to-kill orders for any attempting to escape.