UK MPs seek sanctions on Chinese leaders responsible for gross abuses in Tibet, Xinjiang

The Palace of Westminster with Elizabeth Tower and Westminster Bridge viewed from across the River Thames. (Photo courtesy: BBC)

(, Oct09’20) – Nine MPs have spoken up Oct 7 at a Westminster Hall debate on China’s mass forced labour system in Tibet under which over half a million Tibetans have reportedly been uprooted from their traditional land and way of life, put through a militalized vocational training system, and then sent to work as low wage workers in factories across China.

A motion for the debate on “China’s rapid expansion of the labour programme in Tibet co-published by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China” was earlier moved by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a co-founder recently of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China.

The debate was based on a report released by the Jamestown Foundation on Sep 22. Compiled by Dr Adrian Zenz, a German anthropologist and advisor to the IPAC, the report exposed China’s policies coercing over half a million Tibetans into mass “vocational training”.

Opening the debate, Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called the report’s findings shocking and accused China of driving out the sense of identity of the people in Tibet. He has said Tibetans were being put through a mandatory vocational training and then “taken from one place and put into camps, a lot like the Uyghurs we uncovered, who are forced to do hard labour in all sorts of areas and without proper pay or support.”

He has urged the British government to become a lead advocate and support Magnitsky-style arrangements against Chinese officials responsible “for the use of forced compulsory labour in Tibet and in other areas.”

“We need to look at mandatory sanctions with regard to global human rights abuses: sanctions such as travel bans or asset freezes,” he was quoted as saying.

9 MPs of the UK Parliament call out China over human rights abuses in Tibet at Westminster Hall debate. (Photo courtesy: CTA)

On the Western companies and governments “turning a blind eye” to China’s behavior, he has urged the Government to back an amendment to the Trade Bill in the House of Lords which would nullify trade arrangements if the High Court determines that a proposed trade partner has perpetrated genocide.

He has also said, “The peculiarity of the situation is that if China were any other country in the world, every Government would call it out. They would demand change. Imagine if it were a country in Europe, Africa, or anywhere else — there would immediately be demands and debates in the UN. That does not happen.”

Other MPs who spoke included Tim Loughton, Nigel Adams (the Minister for Asia), and Fiona Bruce from the Conservative Party; Wera Hobhouse and Alistair Carmichael from the Liberal Democratic Party; Stephen Kinnock and Kerry McCarthy from the Labour Party; and Patrick Grady from the Scottish National Party. They all carried forward from Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s criticisms of the Chinese government policies in Tibet as well as in Xinjiang with calls for taking it to task. The debate was chaired by the Conservative Party MP Philip Hollobone.


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