On Friday, December 9, the United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said that his office would engage with Beijing over alleged abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in China.

Dealing with the human rights record of the Chinese regime is one of the critical challenges that Volker Turk faced as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since October.

Former U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet released the report in August, highlighting that the Chinese communist regime detained millions of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang. The report said that the Beijing regime might commit crimes against humanity.

Reuters reported that Beijing pressured Bachelet not to release the report, but she published it on the final day of her tenure.

Beijing rejected the report’s findings, claiming it “smeared and slandered China” and interfered in the regime’s internal affairs.

Turk told reporters during a news briefing in Geneva that the report “is a very important one and has highlighted very serious human rights concerns.”

He added, “I will personally continue engaging with the [Chinese] authorities. I’m very determined to do so.” 

According to Reuters, an effort from Western members to hold a debate on alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang at the U.N. Human Rights Council failed in October due to intensive lobbying against it from the Chinese regime.

The August report notes that “the extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uygur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”The report was released on the final day in the office of the former U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, saying some of Beijing’s policies had caused “serious human rights violations” in Xinjiang.

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