(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BEIJING, March 20 - China plans to invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit its far western region of Xinjiang, the foreign ministry told Reuters, furthering its outreach to fend off criticism about a de-radicalisation program.
The visit would be the first by a large group of Western diplomats to the region as China faces growing opprobrium from Western capitals and rights groups for setting up facilities that U.N. experts describe as detention centers holding more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims.
Several diplomatic sources said the invitation to visit by the end of March had been issued informally, specifically to ambassadors, with one source describing it as a "sounding out" of interest, and the government had not explicitly said who they would meet or where they would go.
It is also not clear if the Europeans would accept the invitation, or how many of their diplomats or ambassadors would go.
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