China on Saturday welcomed the decision of the Ukrainian side to withdraw its endorsement of a joint statement at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that rebuked China over the human rights violations in Xinjiang.
"China welcomes the decision of the Ukrainian side which reflects its spirit of independence and respect for facts and conforms to the purposes of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations," said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, as quoted by Xinhua.This statement comes after reports emerged that Ukraine pulled its name off the list of supporting states on Thursday after, China pressured Ukraine into withdrawing its support for a call for scrutiny of human rights in Xinjiang by threatening to withhold Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines destined for Ukraine unless it did so.
Ukraine has agreed to purchase 1.9 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac Biotech. Last month, Ukraine had received 1.2 million doses.
Earlier on Tuesday, Canada had delivered a joint statement on behalf of 42 countries at the UN Humans Rights Council while expressing grave concerns over the "Uyghur genocide" in Xinjiang province.
"We urge China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers," Canada's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Leslie Norton said at the UNHRC meeting on behalf of 40 countries.
The statement was backed by major countries Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Britain, Spain and the United States, among others.
Norton also called on China to implement the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's Xinjiang-related recommendations, including ending the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.The remarks highlighted reports of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced separation of children from their parents by authorities.
The countries also urged China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner.
Despite mounting evidence, China continues to deny mistreatment of Uyghurs and goes on to insist it is simply running "vocational training" centres designed to counter extremism.