U.N. says China may have committed crimes against humanity in Xinjiang

China’s “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity, the outgoing U.N. human rights chief said in a long-awaited report on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has faced criticism from some diplomats and rights groups for being too soft on China, released the report just minutes before her four-year term ended. She visited China in May.

China’s “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity, the outgoing U.N. human rights chief said in a long-awaited report on Wednesday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has faced criticism from some diplomats and rights groups for being too soft on China, released the report just minutes before her four-year term ended. She visited China in May.

It recommended the Chinese government take prompt steps to release all those detained in training centres, prisons or detention facilities.

“There are credible indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies since 2017,” the office said.

It added that a lack of government data “makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the full extent of current enforcement of these policies and associated violations of reproductive rights.”

Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority that numbers around 10 million in the western region of Xinjiang, including the mass use of forced labour in internment camps. The United States has accused China of genocide.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the report as “completely illegal and void”.

“This proves once again that the OHCHR has become a thug and accomplice of the U.S. and the West,” he said during a regular daily briefing on Thursday in Beijing, where he was asked repeatedly about the report.

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