Human Rights

Name and shame the Chinese guilty for Xinjiang ‘atrocities’

UK parliamentary report calls for the British government to increase pressure on China to tackle the Uighur Muslim crisis

A major report has called for the British government to take action against China for “atrocities” committed on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Released on Thursday, the United Kingdom parliamentary study urged a ban on Chinese cotton and advocated a partial boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

The Foreign Affairs Committee warned that tough measures were needed in its 37-page report Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond.

“It’s time for big boy politics. You cannot work with any partner on a best friend basis,” Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP who sits on the cross-party committee, said as reported by The Guardian newspaper in London. 

“We are the mother of all parliaments and if we are not willing to speak up for those that others seek to silence, then what parliament is going to do it,” she asked.

At least one million Muslims have reportedly been held in detention camps in Xinjiang amid reports of torture and sexual abuse. China has denied the allegations, calling them “lies.”

Still, there have been protests across the world in support of the oppressed Uighur population. Major democracies such as the United States, the UK and the European Union have also expressed outrage and imposed targeted sanctions on China.

Key points from the report:

  • Increasing pressure on Beijing to allow United Nations observers unfettered access in Xinjiang.
  • A fast-track “asylum” system for Uighurs and other Chinese minority ethnic groups into the UK. 
  • Naming and shaming the guilty in Beijing instead of using closed-door diplomacy.
  • A boycott by the British Olympic Association of the opening and closing ceremonies for Beijing 2022.
  • Moving towards a ban on all imports of Xinjiang cotton products.

What was said: “China’s government is responsible for the mass detention of more than a million Uighurs, forcing them into industrial-scale labor programs,” the report stated.

Culture crime: “[Beijing is] attempting to wipe out Uighur and Islamic culture in the region through forced sterilization of women, destruction of cultural sites, and separation of children from families,” the study said.

Forced labor: “The mass incarcerations and connected factories and farms mean it should be assumed that any product originating from Xinjiang is the product of forced labor,” the report added.

Targeted sectors: “While [the] focus has been placed on textiles and apparel, other areas such as solar energy, agriculture, and electronics also bear a substantial risk of using forced labor,” the study said.

Dragon politics: “We still have time to make these choices, and if we choose not to, what we’re doing is nesting the dragon deeper and deeper into our national life,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat warned about not taking action against Chinese companies involved in human rights abuses.

Delve deeper: Last month, Amnesty International revealed that that the Communist Party of China was creating “a dystopian hellscape” for ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang.

China Factor comment: Beijing has constantly dismissed allegations of ethnic abuse as “fabricated lies” that are being used to “smear and slander China.” But the evidence has become overwhelming in the past 18 months.

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