On the UN Human Rights ‘Concerns’ in Xinjiang Region
Sept. 3, 2022 (EIRNS)—Monitoring the establishment news media, might, if you were gullible enough, cause you to believe that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) had uncovered China’s ongoing policy of wholesale torture of the Uyghur and other populations in Xinjiang. “The OHCHR Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China” is largely based on interviews regarding the Vocational Education and Training Centers” (VETC) that the government established to educate, train, and rehabilitate people who had been involved in or were thought to possibly engage in criminal, including terrorist, activity. In the 45-page report, few (if any) of the interviewees are named and little more than approximate number counts on various reported practices are included.
The report introduction, without providing any specifics, indicates concern, beginning in late 2017 with “allegations” by “civil society groups” that Uyghurs and other largely Muslim minorities were “missing” or “disappeared.” In 2018, the “UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances” reported a “dramatic increase in cases” involving the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. Very few “facts” are included in the report. There are 306 footnotes (7 per page). Few of these footnotes provide information other than referrals to other documents that might explain policies, rules, terms used, etc.
Although torture, sexual abuse including rape, isolating persons from friends or family, involuntary work or other assignments, population planning, reproductive freedoms, are mentioned, no specific actions of these descriptions are demonstrated. In its concluding section the report mentions that various entities including other nations, or ethnic, religious, political, or economic structures, had practices that would discourage Uyghur and other people from connecting with their families, but this is rarely mentioned in publicity of the report.
Almost all reports of restricted actions are tempered with indications of uncertainty. For instance the root word “concern” is used 72 times in contexts including “concerns about allegations,” “expressing concerns,” “have raised concerns,” “citing concerns,” “expressing concerns,” “cause for concerns.” There are few or no “concerns” in the report that have been demonstrated to represent actual violations of international law.
Words with the root “suggest” occur 16 times. One example is “Such proceedings—in many cases taking place after months of detention—suggest that the criminal and administrative tracks to address allegations of ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’ offences [have] ... often been intertwined, with criminal proceedings apparently being used to pressure people into accepting a referral to a VETC facility....” The root “authentic” occurs eight times. The phrase “highly likely to be authentic” is typical.
Numbers of the interviewees have reported what would be human rights violations if true. These include sexual abuse, isolation, separation from families, torture, forced commitment to VETC, and other charges. Other interviewees have no such complaints, enjoy family visits, and so on. No conclusion has been reached on the extent that these reports prove criminal governmental policies.
In summary, no rampant criminal violations of human rights have been established. It should be clear, however, that were all of the “concerns,” “allegations,” “suggestions,” and other actions presented in this report, true, they shrink to nothing when compared to the genocidal atrocities committed by the United States and allies in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, “Gitmo,” and the streets of the U.S. itself where cold-blooded murder by active law enforcement personnel is, by tradition, excused.
The report was issued on Aug. 31, the last day of High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s term in that office, the only High Commissioner to actually visit Xinjiang in May, which she specified was not an investigation.