A huge document leak that emerged on Tuesday has put China in the defensive again about its treatment of Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
The lead has led to fresh accusations against China that it was sanctioning abuses of Uyghurs at the 'highest levels'. The sensational leak came during a visit by the UN rights chief, which itself has been in controversy..
The Chinese ruling party, Communist Party is accused of detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang as part of a years-long crackdown, widely called 'genocide' by the US and several members of parliaments in the Western countries.
But China dismisses the charges as lies.
Michelle Bachelet is expected to visit the Xinjiang cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a six-day tour.
She met Foreign Minister Wang Yi who "expressed the hope that this trip would help enhance understanding", according to a readout of the meeting released late Monday, reported AFP.
However, state news agency Xinhua floated a different perception of Bachelet's visit and impression saying that Bachelet "congratulated China on its important achievements in economic and social development and in promoting the protection of human rights".
But AFP reported that Bachelet's spokesperson did not confirm what was said outside the opening comments.
The United States repeated its opinion that Bachelet's visit was a mistake after the release of thousands of leaked documents and photographs from inside the system of mass incarceration.
International news media including the BBC and Le Monde, reported that the Xinjiang Police Files showed that the forceful crackdown on the Uyghurs was authorised at the top level including President Xi Jinping.
The files, leaked by an anonymous source to academic Adrian Zenz, also included a 2017 internal speech by Chen Quanguo, a former Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang, in which he allegedly orders guards to shoot to kill anyone who tries to escape.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was "appalled" by the latest allegations.
"It would be very difficult to imagine that a systemic effort to suppress, to detain, to conduct a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity would not have the blessing -- would not have the approval -- of the highest levels of the PRC government," Price told reporters, referring to the People's Republic of China.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the evidence showed that Bachelet "must take a hard look at these faces and press Chinese officials for full, unfettered access -- and answers".
In a call to her counterpart, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in a statement called for a "transparent investigation" into the "shocking reports and new evidence".
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the report "the latest example of anti-China forces smearing Xinjiang".
Earlier this month, a leaked police database obtained by AFP listed the names and details of thousands of detained Uyghurs.
Uyghurs have been skeptical about the effectiveness of Bachelet's trip feeling that it would be a highly controlled affair. Nursimangul Abdureshid, a Uyghur living in Turkey, said she was "not very hopeful that her trip can bring any change".
"I request them to visit victims like my family members, not the pre-prepared scenes by the Chinese government," she told AFP.Bachelet on Monday gave assurances about her access to detention centres and rights defenders during a virtual meeting with the heads of dozens of diplomatic missions in China, according to diplomatic sources.
Caroline Wilson, the UK's ambassador to China, was on the call and tweeted that she stressed "the importance of unfettered access to Xinjiang and private conversations with its people".