UK declares China's crackdown on Uyghurs as 'genocide'

 London [UK], April 22 (ANI): Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have unanimously declared China's ongoing crackdown in Xinjiang a "genocide", joining the United States, Canada and the Netherlands in condemning Beijing's actions against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-west region.

CNN reported that following a debate on Thursday, the House of Commons passed unopposed a non-binding resolution condemning "mass human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region."

"Today's vote must mark a turning point. No one can still deny the scale of the abuses taking place in the Xinjiang region," Labour lawmaker Yasmin Qureshi, a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China UK, said.

"That this government is pursuing deeper trade ties with China while these abuses continue is unthinkable," she added.

Introducing the motion Thursday, Conservative lawmaker Nusrat Ghani 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, said Ghani, 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 said, as quoted by CNN. "Our route to tackling genocide cannot be controlled by China."

Speaking during Thursday's debate, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith urged the government to rethink its position on China's actions in Xinjiang.

"We will not gain any particular friendship by not calling out genocide from the Chinese. It is simply not a tradeable item," he said.

"The UK government has said endlessly -- and I understand this -- that only a competent court can declare genocide, that is absolutely the original plan," he said as quoted by CNN. "But the problem is that getting to a competent court is impossible. At the United Nations, it is impossible to get through to the International Court of Justice, it is impossible to get through to the International Criminal Court as China is not a signatory to that and therefore will not obey that."

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday announced he was slashing aid to China by 95 per cent, to £900,000 ($1.25 million), as part of a wider program of cuts to the UK foreign aid budget.

The remaining £900,000 will fund programs on open societies and human rights, the minister said in a statement.

The declaration of Genocide by the UK, according to CNN, is sure to damage relations between London and Beijing. Ties are already severely strained by Britain's decision to impose sanctions on Xinjiang, and the resulting tit-for-tat Chinese penalties, as well as China's moves to limit democracy in Hong Kong, a former British colony.

In February, The Netherlands Parliament on Thursday passed a motion saying the Chinese treatment of the Uyghur minority is a "genocide".

Canada's House of Commons also voted overwhelmingly to declare China's treatment of its Uyghur minority population a genocide. The motion - which passed 266 to 0 - was supported by all opposition parties and a handful of lawmakers from the governing Liberal Party.

In the US, the previous Trump administration determined that China has committed genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang and said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must be held accountable for its acts against humanity.

China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.

Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community. (ANI)



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