However, Bachelet emphasized that her six-day trip, which ended on Saturday and included a visit to the western region of Xinjiang, was not an examination of China’s human rights policy, but an opportunity to engage with the government.
Meanwhile, Washington said it “remains concerned” about Bachelet’s trip – which it believes could be used by China for propaganda purposes.
Bachelet began her trip to China, the first for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 17 years, on Monday in the southern city of Guangzhou before heading to Xinjiang.
Her office said last year that it believed Uyghurs in Xinjiang had been unlawfully detained, mistreated and forced to work.
“Questions and concerns about the implementation of counter-terror and extremism measures have raised with widespread application, particularly the impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other Muslim-majority minorities,” she said during an online news conference on Saturday.
China rejects all allegations of abuse in Xinjiang.
Bachelet’s access has been limited because China has made sure she travels in a “closed circle” – isolating people inside a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – without the presence of a foreign press.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington “remains concerned” about Bachelet’s trip to China.
„Wir sind besorgt, dass die Bedingungen, die die Pekinger Behörden dem Besuch auferlegten, keine vollständige und unabhängige Bewertung des Menschenrechtsumfelds in (China) ermöglichten, einschließlich in “Menschließlich d” Vinöjiang “Brechtänger Börgen” Saturday.
The United States was “more disturbed” by reports that residents of Xinjiang are being pressured not to complain about conditions in the region.
“The High Commissioner should have been allowed to hold secret meetings with family members of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang diaspora who are not in detention facilities but who are prohibited from leaving the area,” he said.
Human rights groups and Western countries fear that China will use her trip as an endorsement of its human rights record. “It was a mistake to agree to a visit in these circumstances,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.
China initially denied the existence of detention centers in Xinjiang, but said in 2018 it had set up “vocational training centers” necessary to curb terrorism, separatism and religious extremism in the region.
Bachelet said she addressed the Chinese government’s lack of independent judicial oversight over the centers’ operations, allegations of violence and abuse, and severe restrictions on worship.
In 2019, Xinjiang’s governor, Sohrat Zakir, said all the trainees were “complete”.
During the press conference, Bachelet also described the detention of activists, lawyers and journalists in Hong Kong as “extremely worrying.”
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