'Truly horrifying': Call for bold move against China

Pressure is mounting on the Chinese government over its human rights abuses, with the UK calling for nations to take bold action against the Asian superpower.

A new report by the UK government's influential Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) has been released following months of hearings about the Communist Party's atrocities against religious minorities in the country.

In the 39-page report titled “Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang", British lawmakers outlined measures the committee believes Prime Minister Boris Johnson should take against China.

They included exploring the feasibility of an International Criminal Court probe into the alleged crimes against Uyghur Muslims and others in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.

Pedestrians walk past stalls at the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
The UK has called for action against China for 'truly horrifying' acts in Xinjiang province. Source: Getty

The bipartisan report also called for a partial Winter Olympics boycott and cotton trade ban, due to reports of forced labour.

The FAC called the evidence of China's "truly horrifying" crimes "irrefutable".

"These crimes include forced labour programmes, arbitrary detention in internment camps, cultural erasure, systematic rape, forced sterilisations, separation of children from families and a high-technology surveillance system," the report says.

MPs argued that "an international call to action" was needed.

The committee also backed a fast-track asylum process for those fleeing persecution in the region, forming a coalition of "sanctuary states" with Western allies.

"It's time for big boy politics," committee member Alicia Kearns said before the report was tabled.

"We are the mother of all parliaments. If we are not willing to speak up for those who others seek to silence, then what parliament's going to do it?"

Visitors stand inside the Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, on June 17, 2021 in Shanghai, China. Source: Getty
Visitors stand inside the Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, on June 17, 2021 in Shanghai, China. Source: Getty

Beijing continues to deny acts of 'cultural genocide'

Dr Michael Clarke from the Australian National University, a leading expert on the Xinjiang region, says those not forced into camps suffer under "invasive forms of surveillance and psychological stress".

"China's goal – in my view – is that of cultural genocide," he told Yahoo News Australia in December.

The United States, which has accused Beijing of genocide in Xinjiang, has already imposed various trade sanctions targeting producers and users of cotton as well as tomato products and hair products such as weaves originating from the region.

Last month it also banned imports of solar panel materials from a Chinese company and placing restrictions on four others for alleged use of forced labour in Xinjiang.

Rights groups believe at least one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.

Last month, an international alliance of more than 40 countries including Australia called on China to grant the United Nations Human Rights Council access to its Xinjiang region.

Beijing has denied all allegations of abuses and has insisted its policies and camps in Xinjiang are necessary to counter violent extremism and terrorism.

with AFP

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