(TibetanReview.net, Apr24’21) – In the face of opposition from the government, British lawmakers have on Apr 22 unanimously declared China’s ongoing repression in Xinjiang a genocide, joining the United States, Canada and the Netherlands in condemning Beijing’s actions against the mostly Uyghurs Muslims in the strongest possible terms.
China stands accused of detaining up to 2 million people in a system of camps set up across Xinjiang in recent years, with survivors alleging widespread abuse, including brainwashing, physical and mental torture, rape and forced labor.
Following a debate on Apr 22, the House of Commons passed unopposed, a non-binding resolution condemning “mass human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region,” reported edition.cnn.com Apr 22.
Introducing the motion, Conservative lawmaker Nusrat Ghani has told lawmakers that “while we must never misuse the term genocide, we must not fail to use it when it’s warranted.”
Governments insist that genocide can only be determined by competent courts, Ghani has said, but “every route to a court is blocked by China.”
“Our government is handcuffed, paralyzed by the United Nations. We need to take back control,” she has said. “Our route to tackling genocide cannot be controlled by China.”
In its opposition to the motion, the government argued that deeming an event to be a genocide was a matter for “competent national and international courts after consideration of all the available evidence,” reported the bbc.com Apr 22.
Despite government opposition, the motion passed because ministers did not vote against it, the report said.
The Chinese embassy to the UK reacted to the motion with anger in a statement. “The unwarranted accusation by a handful of British MPs that there is ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is the most preposterous lie of the century, an outrageous insult and affront to the Chinese people, and a gross breach of international law and the basic norms governing international relations.
“China strongly opposes the UK’s blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.”
China has denied allegations of abuse, insisting that the camps are a tool to fight terrorism.