UN Takes Almost a Year To Say That China's Genocide Could Be a Crime

Human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet delayed report to prioritize 'reaching agreement with Beijing'

Then-Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and Chinese president Xi Jinping / Wikimedia Commons
September 1, 2022

The United Nations on Wednesday finally released a long-delayed report that admitted China's genocide of its Uyghur minority "may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity," the New York Times reported. The report did not use the word "genocide."

The report, which was released by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, found that China has undertaken "arbitrary and discriminatory detention" of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities and that "allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, including of rape," were credible.

Both the United States and an independent tribunal in the United Kingdom have declared China's actions to be genocide.

U.N. investigators had the report on High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet's desk nearly a year ago, the Times reported, but Bachelet, a former socialist president of Chile, delayed releasing it. Bachelet, whose term ended minutes after her office released the report, visited China in May, where she praised Communist Party officials and failed to mention the Uyghur genocide.

Bachelet said at a recent news conference that "she had given priority to reaching agreement with Beijing."

International Service for Human Rights program director Sarah M. Brooks told the Times that the report is "the bare minimum" Bachelet and her office could have done. Diplomats in Beijing told the paper that the late release prevents Western governments and human rights groups from building "a robust response in the Human Rights Council, which starts its last session of the year in 12 days."

The Trump administration pulled the United States out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has embraced anti-Semitism and covered up for human rights abusers such as China and Russia. The United States rejoined the council under the Biden administration.