What to expect from the UN Human Rights Office’s visit to China?

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will visit China, but can she get an accurate picture of the situation?

This content was published on March 22, 2022 - 12:00

Podcast host Imogen Foulkes is joined in this episode by experts on China and human rights.

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Rights groups accuse Beijing of having interned over a million Uyghurs in so-called “re-education camps” in Xinjiang.

“Michelle Bachelet will be the first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set foot in China in 17 years,” says Sophie Richardson, China director at NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Will it be safe for witnesses and victims of rights abuses to talk to her?

“China has been cited by the Secretary General himself as engaging in a pattern of reprisals against those who engaged with the UN previously,” says Phil Lynch, director of NGO International Service for Human Rights (ISHR).

Is there a risk of Michelle Bachelet’s visit being instrumentalised by Chinese authorities?

“Given that we cannot expect her to carry out any serious investigation of the reality of human rights in China, what is it that she’s actually going for?” asks Nick Cumming-Bruce, a New York Times contributor in Geneva.

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