- Bachelet’s report speaks of ‘grave human rights violations’ in Xinjiang
- Censorship law destroys Hong Kong’s film scene
- More cyber attacks from China
- Saber rattling over Taiwan increases
- Gazprom pushes ahead with pipeline plans
- US auditors move in on JD and Alibaba
- New Covid lockdowns
- Mikhail Gorbachev – gloating for the ‘traitor’
What do journalists, students, and the UN Human Rights Commissioner have in common? They frequently hand in their required work only at the last minute. Michelle Bachelet made it particularly exciting. The outgoing UN Commissioner for Human Rights wanted to submit the report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang by August 31. At 11:52 p.m. on Wednesday night, the report went online eight minutes before the deadline.
Marcel Grzanna has taken a look at the paper. For the first time, the United Nations speak of “grave human rights violations” in the report. The Bachelet report lists what China did in Xinjiang: Set up camps and forced their inmates to work in factories, suppressed the Uighur birth rate with forced sterilizations, set up total surveillance, pushed back Islam, and destroyed mosques.
The Chilean politician thus surpassed the low expectations that civil rights groups had placed on her. Bachelet is considered China-friendly. Many observers had expected a smoothed report. Indeed she does not follow the reading of “cultural genocide,” but she names numerous crimes. She does so against the explicit protest from Beijing.
Now, a difficult task awaits Bachelet’s successor. Several names are currently circulating for the position. However, a rewarding task does not await the candidates. The pressure from Beijing on the office will not diminish in the coming years.
Increasing control is also playing havoc with the Hong Kong film industry. At times, it was one of the largest and most diverse in the world. But the National Security Act has now produced a censorship law as subsequent legislation, which destroyed the creative and rebellious film scene in Hong Kong, as Felix Lee writes. “Hong Kong films are now exclusively for China,” says US film expert Chris Berry. Many creatives moved from their native Hong Kong to Europe.
In our Heads column, we look back at the life of Mikhail Gorbachev. The Nobel Peace Prize winner died at the age of 91. The former President of the Soviet Union is viewed with contempt in Beijing, as Fabian Kretschmer writes. This is because Gorbachev is seen as a traitor to the communist idea who abandoned the giant empire of the Soviet Union to disintegration.
Bachelet’s last act: UN report on Xinjiang published
In the final minutes of her term, Michelle Bachelet delivered after all. On her last day of work, shortly before midnight on Wednesday, she published a report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang as the first High Commissioner for Human Rights in the history of the United Nations. Bachelet had not indicated whether the paper would actually still be published under her responsibility and against the will of the Chinese government.
It states that the actions of the Chinese government in Xinjiang “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” The wording does not say whether such crimes are actually occurring. But the mere reference to it sends a strong signal from the High Commissioner, notably since it refers to “credible” allegations of torture.
So far, Bachelet has been true to her diplomatic style. She has repeatedly been accused of being too soft in her dealings with the leadership in Beijing. The report avoids the term “genocide,” which has been used by the US government and several parliaments of democratic countries, among others. But it very specifically addresses allegations of forced labor, forced sterilizations, and torture.