UK Calls for U.N. Investigation into Uyghur Genocide in China

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wearing a face mask bearing a Union Flag motif because of the coronavirus pandemic walks through Downing Street in central London on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab is calling on U.N. investigators to insist on urgent access to Uyghur camps in Xinjiang to ascertain the level of human rights abuses taking place in the Chinese province.

Mr. Raab said this week that Uyghur abuses have reached an “industrial scale,” noting that he plans to press the UN human rights council on Monday to address rights violations in China, Myanmar, Belarus and Russia, urging it to launch an independent investigation into Xinjiang internment camps.

“The situation in Xinjiang is beyond the pale,” the foreign secretary plans to say, according to the Financial Times. “The reported abuses — which include torture, forced labour and forced sterilisation of women — are extreme and they are extensive. They are taking place on an industrial scale.”

On February 2, the BBC released a chilling report on the systematic rape, sexual abuse, and torture in China’s “re-education” camps for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang autonomous region.

China and Hong Kong responded by banning broadcasts of BBC World Service and BBC News Weekly for a year, with China’s state-run Global Times calling the British broadcaster a “rumor mill” that threatens China’s “national security.”

China’s National Radio and Television Administration issued a statement that accused the BBC of infringing “the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism” in its report and of undermining Chinese national interests and the unity of the “Chinese people.”

“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom,” Dominic Raab said in a statement. “China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and Internet freedoms across the globe and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”

Following last year’s imposition of the draconian national security law in Hong Kong, the British government suspended trade talks with China. The UK has also banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G networks because of security concerns.

For its part, the United States has declared China’s treatment of its Muslim minority Uyghur population to constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.

On the very last day in office, the Trump administration said that the People’s Republic of China has systematically discriminated against and surveilled Uyghurs as part of a project to eradicate them.

“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” said former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement. “The governing authorities of the second-most economically, militarily and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader.”

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