UN counterterrorism chief makes controversy trip to Xinjiang

BEIJING — China says the U.N. counterterrorism chief has visited Xinjiang last week despite protests from the U.S. and a rights group that the trip would be inappropriate in light of the human rights conditions in the far west region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday that Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and Xinjiang from Thursday to Saturday last week, during which he and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng exchanged views on international counterterrorism efforts and reached "broad consensus."

The U.S., researchers and rights groups estimate that as many as 1 million ethnic Muslims may be arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur and Kazakh minority groups.

Human Rights Watch said Friday the U.N. should have sent a human rights expert instead of a counterterrorism official.

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