UN body rejects historic debate on China's human rights record in Xinjiang

UN body rejects historic debate on China's human rights record in Xinjiang
The UN Human Rights Council has rejected a motion to hold a debate about China's human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang.
2 min read
China has campaigned against a UN debate on its human rights abuses in Xinjiang [Getty]

The UN rights council on Thursday rejected a Western-led motion to hold a debate about human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region after a UN report found possible crimes against humanity.

The defeat (19 against, 17 for, 11 abstentions) is only the second time in the council's 16-year history that a motion has been rejected and is seen by observers as a setback to both accountability efforts and the West's moral authority on human rights.

The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom were among the countries that called for the motion.

There was a rare burst of applause after the result was announced in the packed Geneva-based council room.

China's ambassador had warned shortly before the vote that the motion would create a "dangerous shortcut" for examining other countries' human rights records.

"Today China is targeted. Tomorrow any other developing country will be targeted," said Chen Xu.

The U.N. rights office on August 31 released a long-delayed report that found serious human rights violations had been committed in Xinjiang, in a move that has increased pressure on China.

Beijing vigorously denies any abuses and has said it is "ready for the fight" if action is taken against it.