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UN counterterrorism chief visits China's East Turkistan region

  • 16 Jun 2019

The Chinese foreign ministry says in a statement Sunday that Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region from Thursday to Saturday last week.

A Chinese police officer takes his position by the road near what is officially called a vocational education centre in Yining in the East Turkestan region or Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018. ( Reuters Archive )

China says the UN counterterrorism chief visited the country's East Turkistan region last week despite protests from the US and a rights group that the trip would be inappropriate in light of the human rights conditions in the far west region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday that Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and Xinjiang from Thursday to Saturday last week, during which he and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng exchanged views on international counterterrorism efforts and reached "broad consensus."

The East Turkistan region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. 

The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of the region's population, has long accused Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

Up to one million people, or about seven percent of the Muslim population in the East Turkistan region, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.

Human Rights Watch said Friday the UN should have sent a human rights expert instead of a counterterrorism official.

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