Allegations of human rights abuses in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region will dominate a visit by the United Nations’ top rights official that began Monday.
Michelle Bachelet’s trip is the first to China by a U.N. high commissioner for human rights since 2005, and rights groups warn it threatens to whitewash abuses by the ruling Communist Party in Xinjiang.
China locked up an estimated million or more members of Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities in what critics describe as a campaign to obliterate their distinct cultural identities. China says it has nothing to hide and welcomes all those without political bias to visit Xinjiang and view what it describes as a successful campaign to restore order and ethnic cohesion.
Bachelet began her six-day visit in the southern city of Guangzhou and will travel to the Xinjiang cities of Kashgar, once a stop on the Silk Road, and Urumqi, the region’s capital. Details have been tightly held and China’s Communist Party-controlled media have not reported on her visit.