Wang Yi: No genocide, forced labor or religious oppression in Xinjiang
Updated 09:23, 23-Feb-2021

In his address at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday slammed multiple "inflammatory accusations" targeting human rights in the country's far west Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

There has never been so-called "genocide," "forced labor" or "religious oppression," Wang said via video link. The meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland. "Such inflammatory accusations are fabricated out of ignorance and prejudice."

He reiterated that the essence of the Xinjiang issue is anti-terrorism and anti-separation. "Xinjiang preserves the right of people's freedom of religious belief based on law," Wang told the meeting.

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In his speech regarding the COVID-19 fight, Wang proposed a people-centric human rights philosophy, while calling for promoting human rights via dialogue and cooperation and highlighted the importance of combining the universal principles of human rights with the reality in different countries.  

'People-centered' concept of human rights

At the beginning of his speech, Wang said the COVID-19 pandemic is the common enemy of humankind and cooperation is the only choice for the international community.

People's interests are where human rights start and end, he said.

The Chinese foreign minister called on all countries to systematically advance all aspects of human rights to protect people's rights to life, freedom and property.

Wang said vaccines are related to people's right to health, survival and development, adding that these rights are especially a priority amid the pandemic.

"China is the first country to make a commitment to making its COVID-19 vaccines global public goods," he said, adding that vaccines should be distributed fairly around the globe to ensure accessibility and affordability, especially in developing countries.

Human rights no excuse for interference

Wang also reiterated China's position on issues related to China's Hong Kong.

China supports all countries in strengthening exchanges and cooperation on human rights based on the principle of mutual respect but opposes any attempt to attack and smear other countries or interference in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, he said.

Wang also said the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong has closed long-standing legal loopholes in safeguarding national security in the region and will promote the practice of "One Country, Two Systems." 

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