China has called for the United Nations human rights chief to investigate mass shootings in the US, in an apparent effort to shift the focus from allegations of abuses in its far-western Xinjiang region.
The Global Times made the suggestion in an editorial Tuesday, a day after Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing in Beijing that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should produce a report on problems the US faces.
“The US system is equally incapable, or lacks interest, motivation, and courage, to address these problems thoroughly,” said the Communist Party newspaper, which added that US domestic issues have “intensified its external aggression.”
China has ramped up criticism of the US’s human rights record around a trip to the Asian nation by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, and the fault-finding escalated after the recent killings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
The party’s flagship People’s Daily ran a commentary under the headline “Racism a poison running through American body politic,” that referenced the killing of Blacks in Buffalo, and the official Xinhua News Agency and English-language China Daily published similar articles.
The commentaries appear to be an effort to hit back at the US, which along with lawmakers in other nations, has accused China of carrying out genocide in Xinjiang. Beijing calls the accusations “the lie of the century.”
The US has also criticized China for how it handled Bachelet’s recent trip. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s press office said in a statement that authorities “did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment” in the world’s No. 2 economy and that it had reports Xinjiang residents were warned not to complain.
Activists Say UN Rights Chief’s China Trip Whitewashed Abuse
Human rights groups were also critical of Bachelet and her six-day trip, which she repeatedly said wasn’t an “investigation” of Chinese practices in Xinjiang or elsewhere. At a press conference marking the end of the visit, Bachelet gave her most detailed answer to a question from a reporter with Chinese state media about gun violence and racism in the US.
Bachelet did say at the briefing that any actions by the Chinese government to address alleged terrorism and radicalism must not come at the expense of human rights.
Adrian Zenz, senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, told Bloomberg TV later that he considered Bachelet’s visit to Xinjiang “a disaster” for her failure to condemn China. He also called on her to resign.