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Bachelet’ s Fiasco: When the Thief Stole the Police’s Wallet

Yes, the Chinese manipulated her trip. No, it was not surprising.

By Kok Bayraq


Bachelet in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Source: Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

As Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights returns home after her visit to China and East Turkestan (Ch. Xinjiang), her office is trying to answer widespread international criticism by claiming that it was China that misquoted and manipulated her statements.

In essence, this means that the thief stole the police’s wallet. Ironically, the “theft” occurred despite many calls and warnings to the “police” that she should be vigilant.

The spokesperson for the office of the UNHCR, Elizabeth Throssell, said that while Commissioner Bachelet did “commend China’s achievements in eradicating poverty,” she did not “admire China’s efforts and achievement of protecting human rights,” as reported by the Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV. Bachelet was grossly misquoted, Throssell said.

How could this happen? A thief’s hand, of course, does not accidentally enter the police’s pocket. This is because thieves cannot break their bad habits: “Being [the] eyes, ears, tongue, and throat of the Party [CCP]” is the Chinese state media’s avowed mission. Twisting, exaggerating, and fabricating facts to carry out this mission is the daily work of CCTV. Thus, they covered the visit of Ms. Bachelet according to their daily work habits.

Additionally, when a thief sees that the police are weak, they freely steal in front of everyone to show off their skills among fellow thieves and mock law enforcement. The Chinese state media had witnessed that Ms. Bachelet was prepared to be “soft” on China since receiving permission for her visit. She has neglected all calls from victims and their supporters on human rights issues to either conduct an independent investigation or delay her visit. The Chinese media also witnessed her surrender to China when she declared, “This visit is not an investigation.” Thus, CCP media had good reasons to consider Ms. Bachelet either morally or mentally weak, which they took as a license to twist facts and misquote her.

If those in power take bribes, a thief can easily use them. There is no fear of being caught when the powerful are just as guilty as the criminals. Of course, there is no evidence that Ms. Bachelet has received bribes, but many facts raise questions about her independence. Ms. Bachelet has not expressed the feeling of being disrespected or offended after the distortion of her words regarding crucial topics of human rights. It cannot have stemmed from a lack of understanding of the nature of the matter. Her position does not allow for this possibility, and she has a personal and political history of revolutionary contentiousness, not cowardice.

She may not be taking cash, as Ms. Alena Douhan did, but one of the motives for Ms. Bachelet’s visible China-centric stance might be ideology. She has always been partial to socialism, and criticism of the West by China and other countries. She may also have decided to embrace CCP, to fix China’s reputation in terms of criticism and blame for the Uyghur genocide, or to show loyalty to China to maintain her position at the U.N.

Whatever the reason, the damage has been done to the image of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Although the U.N. has officially stated that Bachelet was misquoted by the Chinese, China has not responded and has not apologized to her. More importantly, the millions of prisoners in East Turkestan (Xinjiang to China), who spend their days in prisons and camps, counting the hours waiting for justice from the international community, are becoming despondent. Their expectations of moral support have not been met. Bachelet’s trip did not change anything. On the contrary, her real or supposed statements fuel Chinese propaganda and are used to threaten Uyghurs.

By demonstrating that murderers and dictators can get away with their crimes, Ms. Bachelet has paved the way for China to continue the Uyghur genocide. That is the essence of their trip. The thief stole the police’s wallet in front of the whole world.

A notable point in this case is that the thief is notorious, with a long record of theft.

Initially, China denied the existence of reeducation camps in “Xinjiang.” In October 2018, twenty months after their establishment, the Chinese media reported that the transformation through education camps were “vocational training centers,” with “students” entering voluntarily. Last week, the Xinjiang Police Files proved, once again, that these jail-like camps were filled with people brought there wearing handcuffs and tortured.

In 2019, the Chinese media has distorted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement from “I hope the Uyghurs are happy” to “Uyghurs are happy.” In 2007, there was the “two translations of one country” incident when the journal of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was published in Chinese. The Taiwanese version was different from that of the mainland.

Ironically, Bachelet’s “wallet” is still not to being returned, despite UN official announcements that they had “noticed” the misquote. That the “ UN rights chief admired China’s human rights record” still remains in the Chinese Foreign Ministry website!

When thieves have such a notorious record, how can they be so bold, even after being noticed? The answer is simple. The police are either weak, or corrupt, or prepared to collaborate with the thieves for their own reasons.


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