BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his country's human rights progress on Wednesday (May 25) in a virtual meeting with UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet during her controversial visit to China, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Ms Bachelet's landmark six-day visit includes stops in the remote western region of Xinjiang, where Beijing has been accused of incarcerating over one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, which has been called a "genocide" by the United States and lawmakers in other Western countries.
China vehemently denies the allegations, calling them the "lie of the century".
"Human rights issues should also not be politicised, instrumentalised, or treated with double standards," Mr Xi said, according to a CCTV readout, adding that China has "a human rights development path that... suits its national conditions".
Xinjiang was not mentioned specifically in the readout of the call, but it reported Mr Xi as telling Ms Bachelet that there is no "ideal nation" on human rights.
He added that there is "no need for a 'teacher' who is bossy towards other countries", in an apparent reference to recent public criticisms of the trip by United States and Britain officials.
According to the Chinese readout, Ms Bachelet said the UN Human Rights Office is "willing to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side... and make joint efforts to promote the progress of the global human rights cause", according to CCTV.
She was also reported to have said: "I admire China's efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realising economic and social development."
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday the United States was "appalled" by the latest allegations, after several media outlets reported on thousands of leaked documents and photographs from inside Xinjiang's system of mass incarceration.