Beijing warns Uighurs not to discuss “re-education” before visiting the UN.

Beijing warns Uighurs not to discuss "re-education" before visiting the UN.

The Chinese government has issued a new guideline prohibiting Uyghurs from discussing the network of internment centers ahead of the UN team’s much-anticipated arrival to Xinjiang. People in the northern province are also prohibited from accepting calls from international phone numbers, according to the directive. According to a police official in the region, officers received special government instructions on how to prepare for Michelle Bachelet’s visit this month as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. The policeman, who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, said he was in charge of circulating the notices and implementing its directives during political study sessions. “The political study sessions are being held on Wednesdays, and prefectural and autonomous regional notices are being studied as they arrive,” he said.

Several rights groups have said the planned visit to China by the UN high commissioner for human rights should meet minimum standards to be considered credible. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and 59 other groups earlier urged High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to take several steps to prevent the Chinese government from manipulating the visit. Dozens of rights groups say the Chinese government has committed widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, cultural persecution, and other offenses against Uyghurs and members of other Turkic groups in Xinjiang that amount to crimes against humanity.

China on Wednesday welcomed the upcoming visit of the UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to the Xinjiang province this month amid reports of human rights abuses in the northwest region. “The preparatory team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has arrived in China and is currently undergoing quarantine in accordance with relevant anti-COVID-19 protocols,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing. “The preparatory team has begun work and the two sides are discussing the specific arrangements for the visit,” he said.

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