Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 3:43 pm, 20th July 2020

I agree with the hon. Lady; I think the whole House—every individual—will share the disgust and the horror at the idea that, anywhere, there is any number of cases of forced sterilisation. The testimony that we saw on “The Andrew Marr Show” yesterday was truly harrowing—I had certainly not seen anything of that nature before.

The hon. Lady asks, quite rightly, about how we are trying to assess the evidence base. We need to bear in mind two factors: first, the evidential points that I have already mentioned and, secondly, the balance of international opinion. We can work with our traditional partners, which is really important, but we also need to build up a groundswell of wider support among like-minded partners and countries—particularly those that share our values, but maybe in the region or more broadly—that feel vulnerable to pressure from China. That is a challenge. The way the debate is viewed in some of those countries and by some of those Governments is different from the way it is seen here, so we need to be smart about the way we approach this so we gain consensus and build up a groundswell of support for the measures we have taken. I believe that in the approach we have taken on Hong Kong, grounded in the joint declaration and the very specific obligations that have been violated, we are in the best position to do that.