The UK declares genocide in Xinjiang and is calling for an international coalition to take action against the Chinese government.
Rabat – UK MPs at the House of Commons unanimously approved a motion accusing China of genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang on Thursday, April 22.
Calling on the British government to condemn the “crime against humanity” by Chinese authorities, the motion lambasts China’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in the country’s northwestern province.
Although the symbolic motion does not propose that the UK take action, the vote urges ministers to increase their criticism of Chinese authorities and pressure PM Boris Johnson’s administration to take a serious stand against Beijing’s behavior.
Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani proposed the motion and received resounding support from lawmakers. However, the government avoids using the term genocide, arguing that only courts can declare a genocide.
In response, Beijing condemned the motion and described the accusations as a “big lie concocted by international anti-China forces” and called upon the UK to “immediately right its wrong moves.”
In a statement to AFP, spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian said: “The Chinese government and the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang firmly oppose and strongly condemn such allegations.” The Chinese spokesman slighted the UK by adding, “The UK’s own problems are already enough.”
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The UK position is shared by the US as it was the first state to accuse China of genocide. The Canadian and Dutch parliaments made similar statements in February 2021.
The EU, the US, Canada, and Britain have already enacted sanctions to condemn Chinese officials who are allegedly involved in rights abuses, by adopting rules to block products from the Xinjiang province from reaching supply chains.
On April 24, a top White House official announced that Biden’s administration intends to pressure the G7 to adopt a stance against China’s exploitation of the Muslim Uyghur minority through forced labor.
According to Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser to Biden and deputy director of the National Economic Council, President Biden will attend a G7 meeting in the UK in June and will discuss “elevating shared democratic values within the G7.”
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Human rights groups estimate that China has imprisoned nearly 1 million Uyghur Muslims in internment and forced labor camps.
Human Rights Watch and the Stanford Law School’s Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic published a report on Uyghurs’ ordeal on April 19.
The report, titled “Break their lineage, break their roots: China’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” argued that China is carrying out a massive campaign of “detention, torture, cultural persecution and other offenses” against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
China denies all the accusations of abuse and torture, arguing that the camps are a state counter-terrorism mechanism.