According to a note seen by Reuters on Friday, China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States, and Britain on the suppression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang.
“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s UN 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.”
“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual UN event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
According to the invitation, the event’s aim is to “discuss how the UN system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,”
Western governments and human rights organisations have accused officials in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the US has characterised as genocide. Washington suspended the import of cotton and tomato goods from Xinjiang in January due to reports of slave labour.
Beijing disputes the allegations, describing the camps as vocational training centres to fight 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 UN director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.