Switzerland request for the presence of China’s envoy over Uighur rights – Nexus News
Switzerland has called the Chinese ambassador to express concern about the human rights situation in China’s western region of Xinjiang.
“Switzerland is convinced that the best way to safeguard its interests and the respect of fundamental rights is to conduct a critical and constructive dialogue with Beijing,” the Swiss foreign ministry stated on Thursday.
The ministry quoted last week’s report by the United Nations human rights commissioner that said China’s “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang may amount to crimes against humanity.
China’s foreign ministry has debunked the allegations and portrayed the UN report as “completely illegal and void”.
Beijing debunks accusations of mistreatment of Uighurs in the country.
At first, it disclaimed the existence of the camps, but later stated that they were vocational skills training centers needed to resolve “extremism” among Uighurs who differ in religion, language and culture from China’s majority Han ethnic group.
Uighurs noted that they have faced abuses – forced sterilization, family separation and humiliations, forced to eat pork or live with Han Chinese family “minders”.
It is also widely known that Uighurs are victims of forced labor in Xinjiang’s giant cotton industry.
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Neutral Switzerland has walked a diplomatic tightrope with Beijing, playing down prospects for embracing Western penalties against China over its human rights record as Bern pursues a “special path” with a crucial trade partner.
In disclosing a new strategy on China last year, Bern declared few concrete policy changes and emphasized on the importance of bilateral ties.
But it spoke more openly about its disapproval of China’s human rights record than it has tended to do in the past.
In 1950, Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to accept Communist China.
Since 2010, China has been its biggest trading partner in Asia and its third-largest globally after the European Union and the United States.
A bilateral free trade agreement took effect in July 2014, and the two nations this year launched a joint platform for stock listings and trading.