Political

Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, Lib Dem warns

Chinese Ambassador to the UK denying on the Andrew Marr Show that the Uyghur people are being transported across China

A press release from the Liberal Democrats says…

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Foreign Secretary to acknowledge that the Chinese government is “engineering a genocide of the Uyghur people” and to come before Parliament before the recess to set out the Government’s response.

In a letter to the Foreign Secretary, the Party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael urged the Government to use the next round of targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses in China.

The intervention follows the Chinese Ambassador to the UK denying on the Andrew Marr Show that the Uyghur people are being transported across China for forced labour in factories.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The images we have seen in recent days are harrowing and inhuman. The Government has a duty to take a lead and do all we can to save the Uyghur people.

We must be clear what is happening here. The Chinese government is engineering a genocide.

The Foreign Secretary must come before MPs before the recess and set out what urgent actions the Government will take, both on an international level and unilaterally.

The full letter reads:

Dear Foreign Secretary,

I write regarding footage of Uyghurs in China being led bound and blindfolded onto trains, believed to have been shot last year but released for the first time this week. Given the limited parliamentary time before recess, I would appreciate your urgent response and an indication on if you will make a statement to the House on this matter.

Two years ago I wrote to your predecessor, Jeremy Hunt MP, regarding my concerns and the concerns of my colleagues about the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. At the time I referred to the actions of the Chinese government as “ethnic cleansing”. In light of recent reports and mounting evidence it is clear that this was in fact an understatement.

You may have seen the front-page story from Jewish News this week, which noted disturbing parallels between the treatment of Uyghurs by the Chinese regime and the treatment of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. The story cited the recent seizure of 13 tonnes of human hair by US Customs officials, believed to be taken forcibly from Uyghur Muslims.

These images and statistics are stark and yet only offer us a glimpse of the situation faced by the Uyghur community in China. I welcomed the robust statement from the government during the recent debate on reports of organ harvesting against Uyghurs by the Chinese government. Faced with the unambiguous state of affairs in Xinjiang, however, I believe that we need to go further. The United Kingdom must acknowledge that the Chinese government is engineering a genocide of the Uyghur people.

Last week when you came to the House to make a statement on the global human rights sanctions regulations, I raised with you the possibility of focusing the next round of targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses in China. I believe that the time to begin this process is now overdue and would appreciate your response on the government’s next steps in this regard.

The government has rightly taken significant and welcome steps in recent months in recognising the plight of Hongkongers under the new Chinese-imposed national security law and taking action to support them. In light of the increasingly desperate situation of the Uyghur people we must accelerate our efforts, both on an international level and unilaterally. If you were to come to Parliament next week before recess to outline the government’s response on these issues I believe it would be warmly received on all sides of the House.

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One response to “Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, Lib Dem warns”

  1. An intensely difficult situation, requiring levels of diplomacy that I don’t believe Boris’s govt possesses. At the same time as getting some traction on these two issues we need to recognise a)that they have overtaken the US in terms of global domination b) that UK business relies on Chinese manufacturers for substantial quantities of components and c) that Chinese products dominate the UK market, – in some cases alternative sources do not exist, even at a higher price.
    What if we impose sanctions and they ignore or retaliate.. ok so we can manage without their money to build nuclear power stations (I’ll be glad to see those projects abandoned), but we need tactful negotiators like never before…

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