(TibetanReview.net, Feb26’21) – After the US State Department and Canada’s House of Commons, the Netherlands has become the first European country whose parliament has taken a stand Feb 25 that the atrocities China is committing on ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang amounts to genocide.
The motion, which is nonbinding, is seen as likely to encourage other European parliaments to advance similar statements.
Genocide is a crime under international law and involves an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
The Chinese Embassy in The Hague has on Feb 26 called the allegation of genocide in Xinjiang an “outright lie”, saying the Dutch parliament had “deliberately smeared China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs”.
In a statement on its website, the Chinese Embassy has said, “Xinjiang-related issues are never about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about combating violent terrorism and secession.”
The Dutch motion said that actions by the Chinese government such as “measures intended to prevent births” and “having punishment camps” fell under United Nations Resolution 260, generally known as the genocide convention, reported aljazeera.com Feb 26.
While in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet colleagues did not take part in the voting, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party has voted against the resolution.
The report cited Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok as saying the government did not want to use the term genocide, as the situation had not been declared as such by the United Nations or by an international court.
Blok has called the situation of the Uighurs “a cause of great concern” after the motion was passed, adding that the Netherlands hoped to work with other nations on the issue, the report said.
“Recognising the atrocities that are taking place against the Uighurs in China for what they are, namely genocide, prevents the world from looking the other way and forces us into action,” the author of the motion, legislator Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the centre-left Democrats 66 Party, has told Reuters.
Sjoerdsma has separately proposed lobbying the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics away from Beijing.