Global revulsion at the continued persecution of China’s Uyghur minority, a Turkic Muslim people in the NorthWest of the country, is growing amid calls for the situation to be declared a “Genocide”.
The Netherlands recently became the first EU member state to pass a resolution to this effect, and Belgium appears to be following the Dutch lead.
Two Green parliamentarians, Samuel Cogolati and Wouter de Vriendt, both of the Ecolo-Groen grouping, recently tabled a resolution based on mounting evidence of China’s policies of mass sterilisation, forced abortions, and the placing of Uyghur children whose parents are among the 1.8 million held in prison camps, where they often undertake forced labour for Chinese companies, in state orphanages.
“Not only Uyghur people, but many people are concerned and feel that we must change and that we must act and that we must dare to say things clearly regarding what is happening now in Xinjiang and for the Uyghur people in China and all around the world,” Cogolati told Radio Free Asia.
“And so I keep faith that one day, and hopefully and the sooner the better, we may adopt this resolution formally and recognise the atrocities committed by China as being a crime of genocide.”
France, citing extreme violations of human rights, has said it will oppose the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between China and the EU.
The deal, which reached “agreement in principle on investment” on December 30th 2020, has attracted criticism for its failure, on the side of the EU, to address human rights concerns, and also China’s “commitment”, or otherwise, to environmental issues. European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “We have secured binding commitments on the environment, climate change and combatting forced labour. We will engage closely with China to ensure that all commitments are honoured fully.”
UK observers noted wryly that China’s commitments to the people of Hong Kong were very quickly forgotten as soon as Beijing had secured what it wanted, with the population now subjected to draconian restrictions on their freedoms and civil rights.
Across the English Channel, the House of Commons has heard calls for “Magnitsky” sanctions against Chinese officials and companies complicit in the atrocities.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, the former leader of Britain’s Conservative party who is leading the call for sanctions, is due to address a conference at the Brussels Press Club on the matter this week.
Across the Atlantic, the United States has already begun to impose sanctions.
In February, then Secretary of State and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, said “the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups”
On February 22nd the Canadian House of Commons voted 266–0 to approve a motion formally recognising China as committing genocide against its Muslim minorities.