Michelle Bachelet (UN) will travel to China from Monday

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PARIS (Reuters) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, will visit China from May 23 to 28, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the High Commission said last week that her trip would include the Xinjiang region in western China, where Uyghurs and other Muslim communities are said to be subjected to forced labor, torture and forced detention according to NGOs and Western powers.

China denies the charges of forced labor and genocide and has called on other countries not to interfere in its internal affairs.

Human Rights Watch said Friday that it fears, along with other human rights groups, that the Chinese government is “manipulating the visit into a publicity stunt”.

Michelle Bachelet will also visit Guangzhou province in southern China, but will not go to Beijing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson for the High Commission.

Michelle Bachelet will be the first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit China since Louise Arbor in 2005.

(Yew Lun Tian report, with Emma Farge in Geneva, French version Laetitia Volga, edited by Kate Entringer)

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