• Kyodo


Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Tuesday urged China to take “positive” actions to protect human rights and freedom in Hong Kong and its Xinjiang region amid allegations of abuses against pro-democracy protestors in the former and members of the Muslim Uyghur minority in the latter.

“Japan is deeply concerned about the recent situation in these areas and strongly urges China to take positive concrete actions,” Motegi said in a video message to a high-level meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, referring to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, a far-northwestern region in China.

“Universal values such as freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of law must also be protected in China,” he said.

China has faced criticism from Western countries over its crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong under a national security law imposed in June last year and its treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority.

Motegi also expressed Japan’s “grave concerns” over the situation in Myanmar, where the military staged a coup on Feb. 1. On Saturday, riot police opened fire on demonstrators and killed two people in the nation’s second-largest city, Mandalay.

“We urge the release of those who were detained, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the swift restoration of the country’s democratic political system,” the minister said.

The 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council opened Monday and is set to run through March 23. As the meeting is being held in an online format this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaders from more than 130 countries are set to give speeches virtually.

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