China urges U.N. states not to attend Xinjiang event on Uyghur repression next week

Click to play video: 'Canada, allies slap sanctions against China over Uyghurs' Canada, allies slap sanctions against China over Uyghurs
WATCH: Canada, allies slap sanctions against China over Uyghurs – Mar 22, 2021

China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.

“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”

China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”

Read more: ‘They are in no hurry’: Beijing plays the long game as Canadians languish in China’s prisons

“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Chinese mission to the United Nations confirmed the note and China’s opposition to the event.

The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.

Click to play video: 'Uyghur activist describes family’s disappearance' Uyghur activist describes family’s disappearance
Uyghur activist describes family’s disappearance – Mar 31, 2021

Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide.

In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.

Story continues below advertisement

Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centres to combat religious extremism.

“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.

Sponsored content