When the UN’s high commissioner for human rights returned from a China tour last month “spouting Beijing propaganda”, humanitarians were up in arms, says Mary Anastasia O’Grady in The Wall Street Journal. The 70-year-old Chilean socialist Michelle Bachelet, who has since said she will not be seeking a second term, stuck to Chinese government talking points in remarks about Xinjiang, where the Xi regime has locked up a million Uighurs. She described China’s policies as a form of “counter terrorism” to fight back against “violent acts of extremism”, and referred to mass detention facilities as “vocational and educational training centres”. Beijing was delighted: after the visit a Chinese diplomat tweeted that the regime was “not only vindicated, but justified”.
To those with longer memories, these grotesque remarks come as no surprise. In the Cold War, Bachelet was on the side of the Soviets – she chose to live in East Germany in the 1970s. And she’s been a lifelong admirer of Fidel Castro’s brutal Cuban revolution. In 2009 she made a pilgrimage to Cuba to “sit at the feet of the ageing tyrant”. During recent anti-government protests, when Cuban police fired on unarmed civilians, she made some mild remarks about “alleged use of excessive force” and suggested “dialogue” between the dictatorship and the powerless population. Whether in China or Cuba, the high commissioner’s sympathies clearly lie with the oppressors. If the UN were credible, it would never have let someone like Bachelet anywhere near its human rights commission. “Let’s face it: human rights are not her thing.”