UK must match rhetoric with action on China’s treatment of Uyghurs, MPs say | Foreign police
Britain must act to end China’s atrocities against Uyghur Muslims by banning the import of Chinese cotton and solar panels from Xinjiang province, as well as announcing that no government official will assist at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to a report by deputies.
Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said without action the UK would allow China “to anchor the dragon deeper and deeper into British life.”
The committee’s report indicates that the government’s often harsh rhetoric about “industrial-scale forced labor programs in Xinjiang” is not accompanied by effective action.
MPs accuse ministers of imposing lax demands on companies to remove forced labor from their supply chains, failing to sanction Chinese official most responsible for mass atrocities and failing to publish after six months “urgent review” of British trade controls in Xinjiang.
They are also urging ministers to join the UK parliament in describing what is happening as genocide, saying whistleblower and shame tactics have proven to be more effective than behind closed doors diplomacy.
A special accelerated asylum system for Uyghurs is also proposed. The multi-stakeholder report also calls for the tech companies that underpin what is described as the Xinjiang police state to be banned in the UK.
The report will certainly elicit an angry reaction from the Chinese government, but a member of the committee, Alicia Kearns, said MPs could not hesitate to voice criticism.
Kearns said, “It’s time for the big boys to get into politics. You cannot work with a partner on a best friend basis. We are the mother of all parliaments and if we are unwilling to stand up for those others seek to silence, then which parliament will? “
The report said, “The Chinese government is responsible for the mass detention of over one million Uyghurs, forcing them to participate in industrial-scale forced labor programs and for attempting to eliminate Uyghur and Islamic culture of the region through the forced sterilization of women. , destruction of cultural sites and separation of children from families.
“Mass incarceration and connected factories and farms mean that it must be assumed that any product originating in Xinjiang is the product of forced labor. While the focus has been on the textile and clothing sector, other areas such as solar energy, agriculture and electronics also present a substantial risk of the use of forced labor. “
It indicates that up to 570,000 people are forced to pick cotton, often paid little or not at all.
As a remedy, he suggests that “until there is definitive proof that products are not contaminated by forced labor, UK businesses and consumers should not buy them.” He also calls for a government ban on imports of cotton and other products of forced labor, which Tugendhat said complies with WTO rules.
Over 80% of Chinese cotton comes from Xinjiang, and China supplies a quarter of the world’s cotton products. Likewise, 40% of UK solar panels contain material from Xinjiang.
The report also proposes that “the British Olympic Association does not participate in the opening or closing ceremonies of Beijing 2022, beyond a representative carrying the union flag. He should refrain from sending government officials to any ceremony or function, strongly discourage British companies from sponsoring or advertising the Olympics, encourage fans and tourists to stay away and discourage athletes to support or accept the Chinese government’s propaganda efforts.
The report calls for a ban on the use in Britain of surveillance equipment provided by the Chinese company Hikvision, claiming that the company operates in Xinjiang and has thus helped transform the province into “a modern police state where technology from tip is deployed to support an unprecedented level. surveillance, invasion of privacy and repression ”.
At the same time, the report praises the government’s diplomatic efforts to raise the issue internationally and accuses China of using its belt and road initiative as a means to pressure many Islamic countries to does not denounce the atrocities in Xinjiang.
Tugendhat, who has personally been the subject of sanctions from the Chinese government in the past, said there was a growing need to take a tough approach. “We are witnessing growing nationalism in China and we have to be careful that what we are not doing is seen as feeding the crocodile and hoping to be eaten last.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said, “The evidence of the scale and gravity of human rights violations perpetrated in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims is far reaching and paints a truly heartbreaking picture.
“The British government has led international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations in Xinjiang at the UN. We will carefully consider the findings of this report.