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More MPs call for UK government to take action on human rights crisis in Xinjiang

15 Jul 2021

British MPs have increased calls on the UK government to pressure the Chinese government to end human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

On 15 July the House of Commons will hold a debate on calling for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics hosted by China, citing human rights concerns about the Uyghur Region.

The motion follows the publication on 8 July of a report titled ‘Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond’ by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, which recommends that the government “should accept Parliament’s view that Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang are suffering genocide and crimes against humanity, and take action to bring these crimes to an end.”

The Committee’s inquiry took evidence from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Uyghur campaigners, experts, industry bodies, and NGOs including CSW. The then-Chinese Ambassador to the UK declined an invitation from the Committee.

The report recommends that the government should not attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It also makes recommendations on multilateral action, private sector reforms, the support required for members of persecuted diasporas, and the government’s approach to atrocity prevention.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “We share these British MP’s concerns about the abhorrent violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in China. Beyond the Uyghur Region, other religion or belief communities in China, including Christians, Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists, continue to suffer under a grave and ongoing crackdown on religion across the country. Religious leaders are imprisoned, harassed, evicted from their homes, and accused of false charges. At the same time, the Chinese authorities continue to disbar, imprison, and torture human rights defenders including lawyers. The UK government must take every opportunity to hold to account the perpetrator of these violations, the Chinese Communist Party, including through a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. We call on the government to consider carefully all of the recommendations in the aforementioned report, and to make human rights in China, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, a cross-departmental priority.”

Earlier this month, a resolution in the EU parliament calling on diplomatic officials to boycott the event passed with an overwhelming majority. The resolution called on diplomats to boycott the Olympics “unless the Chinese government demonstrates a verifiable improvement in the human rights situation in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uyghur region, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and elsewhere in China.”



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