UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly rejected claims by five human rights groups that he hasn’t condemned the Chinese government’s detention of more than a million Muslims in the Xinjiang region, saying he has spoken out forcefully.
“I don’t think anyone has been more persistent and more clear in talking to the Chinese authorities in relation to this issue than myself,” he told reporters Wednesday. “It is absolutely not true that I’ve only done discreet diplomacy.”
On the contrary, Guterres said that during his visit to Beijing in April, “I not only did raise the issue, but I made it public.”
The five rights groups said in a letter to the secretary-general circulated Tuesday that he would make an important contribution to addressing “one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time” by speaking out against China’s internment of the Uighurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups and calling for the immediate closure of detention camps for them.