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UN human rights chief arrives in China, to visit Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will be meeting Chinese leaders and heads of relevant departments during her six-day visit (Image courtesy: Twitter/@UNHumanRights)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet began her six-day official mission to China on Monday, at the invitation of the Xi Jinping government. This is the first country visit by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to China since 2005.

During her visit, the High Commissioner is due to meet with a number of high-level officials at the national and local levels. Bachelet will also meet with civil society organisations, business representatives, academics, and deliver a lecture to students at Guangzhou University. Bachelet will visit Guangzhou, Kashgar and Urumqi – the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far Chinese northwest.

At the end of her mission, Bachelet will issue a statement and is scheduled to hold a press conference on May 28.

"China welcomes Ms. Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights… Chinese leaders and heads of relevant departments will meet her. Bachelet will visit Guangdong and Xinjiang and have extensive exchanges with all walks of life. It is hoped that this visit will further promote exchanges and cooperation between the two sides and play an active role in advancing the cause of international human rights," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin in Beijing on Monday.

A five-member UN Human Rights advance team has already been in China since April 25 to prepare for the High Commissioner’s visit. The team initially spent time in Guangzhou, where they conducted virtual meetings while in quarantine in line with Covid-19 travel requirements. Following quarantine, the team undertook meetings and visits in Guangzhou before travelling to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

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