Just last week, thousands of documents were leaked from the Chinese police, revealing the details on the treatment of Uyghurs, in camps which the Chinese government calls “Vocational Skills Education and Training Centers.”
The documents detailed the procedure and instructions on running the camps. In one of the documents, it clearly states that if “students” attempt to escape, the armed police should shoot to kill, according to the BBC. In addition to that, the documents also revealed thousands of photographs of people who have been in these camps.
The Chinese government says that these camps are for its counter terrorism campaign and claim that “students” sign up willingly. The Chinese government has repeatedly stated that these camps are necessary for combating extremism and deradicalizating the people.
The United Nations’ human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet visited Xinjiang during her trip to China last week from the 23 to 28. “It provides an opportunity for me to better understand the situation in China, but also for the authorities in China to better understand our concerns and to potentially rethink policies that we believe may impact negatively on human rights,” Bachelet said in an online news conference.
Human rights groups criticized Bachelet’s trip, as she engaged continuously with the Chinese government during her trip, including her meeting with the Chinese leader, Xi Jingping. Bachelet commended Chinese efforts in women’s rights and fighting poverty. Moreover, Bachelet’s longest answer during her news conference was responding to a question about the school shooting in Texas from CCTV, a Chinese state-owned broadcaster.
In a press briefing Chinese vice foreign minister said, “[Bachelet’s trip] provided an opportunity to observe and experience first-hand a real Xinjiang.” He added that, “Xinjiang is not at all a human rights issue, but a major issue concerning upholding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”
The US secretary of state Anthony Blinken raised concerns on Bachelet’s trip on Saturday. “The United States remains concerned about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and her team’s visit to the People’s Republic of China and PRC efforts to restrict and manipulate her visit,” said Blinken “The visit did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in the PRC, including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing.