After last week’s controversial visit to Xinjiang by the head of the UN’s Counterterrorism Office, Beijing has responded to international concerns that such a trip was “inappropriate” by again claiming that the surveillance state in place to monitor the Muslim Uighur population is justified by the security context.
Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov was invited to the region by Beijing and reached a “broad consensus” during counter-terrorism discussions with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng.
The U.S. responded by conveying “deep concerns” about the visit.
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told UN secretary-general António Guterres “such a visit is highly inappropriate in view of the unprecedented repression campaign underway in Xinjiang against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims.”
A U.S. State Department statement added that “the UN’s topmost counterterrorism official is putting at risk the UN’s reputation and credibility on counterterrorism and human rights by lending credence to these false claims.”
Now Beijing has hit back, with government mouthpiece the Global Times claiming that “people will realize how precious the Xinjiang experience is if they compare the region to Chechnya, Afghanistan and Syria… While the West plays word games and a political game of ‘go’ on the Xinjiang question, the region’s governments at all levels are pursuing peace, stability and prosperity for all people living there. Time will prove the achievements of China’s governance in Xinjiang.”