China threatens to suspend cooperation with UN after ‘genocide’ report

China’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva said on Friday that the Chinese government will no longer cooperate with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) due to the disclosure, on august 31from a report that pointed to a possible crime against humanity committed by China in the face of serious human rights violations against the Uighurs, a Muslim minority in Xinjiang Province.

Ambassador Chen Xu told the press that the office “closed the door on cooperation” by releasing the report that he classified as “illegal and invalid”. China denies any abuses in Xinjiang and says the UN interfered in the country’s internal affairs.

The report on the Uighurs has been demanded and awaited for months by Western governments, which systematically accuse China of committing genocide by carrying out mass incarceration and persecution of the ethnic minority. The report acknowledged the abuses, also mentioning sterilization and forced abortions on Uighur women.

The Human Rights Office recommended immediate steps to release all detainees and that China clarify the whereabouts of missing persons. The document also mentions victims of beatings and the destruction of mosques.

After publication of the document, the United States called for punishments for China.

The report on crimes committed in Xinjiang is expected to be discussed during a meeting of the Human Rights Council next week. Chen said he would “firmly oppose” any measures against China at that session.

The much-anticipated report was only released in the last few minutes before Michelle Bachelet stepped down as head of the OHCHR. While she took time to deliver the report, activists criticized the Chilean for the delay and for taking a trip to China, which would indicate a soft stance towards the PCC. The incisive report warded off criticism.

For the Chinese ambassador, however, the delivery of the report in the last few minutes reveals that the commissioner did not support the conclusions of the document. “If I read her mind correctly, I don’t think she agrees with the report and that’s why it was released at the last minute.”

The High Commissioner for Human Rights is being managed on an interim basis until the arrival of the Austrian Volker Turk, appointed on Thursday, in Geneva. An OHCHR spokesperson declined to comment immediately on the Chinese ambassador’s remarks.

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