China will allow U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the far western region of Xinjiang, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Bachelet received Beijing's approval to visit the region with the understanding that it would be a "friendly" trip rather than an investigation into alleged human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, according to The South China Morning Post.
Sources told the Hong Kong newspaper that China has also asked the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to postpone publishing a report about Xinjiang until after the Beijing Winter Olympics.
A spokesperson from Bachelet's office reportedly said last month that it would soon publish a report on its findings on human rights violations against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang.
Last week, U.S. lawmakers released a letter requesting that Bachelet's office publish the report before the start of the Winter Olympics next Friday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Friday that the purpose of Bachelet's visit is to "promote exchanges and cooperation" and Beijing opposes "anyone using this matter for political manipulation."
However, Zhao did not elaborate on the exact dates of Bachelet's visit.