The United Kingdom on Tuesday blasted China for the “harrowing treatment” of its Uyghur minority and said will introduce new measures to ensure that UK companies are not part of Xinjiang region supply chain.
Addressing the country’s Parliament, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday said that the evidence of the scale and severity of the human rights violation being purported in Xinjiang against the Uyghur Muslims is now far-reaching.
“The evidence of the scale and severity of the human rights violation being purported in Xinjiang against the Uyghur Muslims is now far-reaching and it paints the truly harrowing picture. Violations include extrajudicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims in reeducation camps,” he said.
He added: “Internment camps, arbitrary detention, political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilisation – all on an industrial scale. It is truly horrific. Barbarism we had hoped lost to another era, being practised today as we speak in one of the leading members of the international community.”
According to the minister, the government will implement a range of new measures against Beijing and make sure that UK businesses are not part of Xinjiang region supply chains, so they won’t be “complicit in the use of forced labour”, Sputnik reported.
“This package put together will help make sure that no British organisations, government or private sector, deliberately or inadvertently are profiting from, or contributing to, human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in Xinjiang”, he said.
Raab stressed that Britain would toughen the Modern Slavery Act and use other measures in the future, including possible sanctions, responding to the situation with Uyghurs in China.
According to credible reports, more than one million people, are or have been, detained in what is being called ‘political re-education’ centres, in the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic minority population in the world today.
The internment camp system in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is expanding, with more than 380 suspected detention facilities having been newly built or expanded since 2017, and at least 61 detention sites newly constructed or expanded between July 2019 and July 2020. In September, China acknowledged a drop in birth rates in Xinjiang but has denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide in its far western region.
The Xinjiang government acknowledged the number of births in the region decreased drastically between 2017 and 2018. However, it claimed that such procedures were not forced but voluntary and the Uyghur population has been “growing continuously.”
The Xinjiang government was quoted as saying by CNN that “the birth rate in the region had dropped from 15.88 per 1,000 people in 2017 to 10.69 per 1,000 people in 2018.” The local government attributed the decline to “the comprehensive implementation of the family planning policy.”
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, according to a report.
Genocide is a serious crime under international law and the US government has adopted the term on rare occasions only after extensive documentation. Some experts said reports of mass surveillance, torture, arbitrary detentions and forced detentions employed by China against Uyghurs amount to “demographic genocide”. (ANI)