China: Human Rights

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

What progress he has made on identifying and applying sanctions against senior Chinese Government officials responsible for human rights violations against (a) the Uyghur people and (b) Hong Kong citizens.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Foreign Secretary announced targeted measures on 12 January to help ensure that no British organisations are complicit in the gross human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang. The United Kingdom continues to lead international action, including at the UN, to hold China to account. The Foreign Secretary made a robust intervention at the Human Rights Council on 22 February, calling out the systematic violation of the rights of people in Hong Kong and pressing China for unfettered access to Xinjiang for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

Ahead of International Women’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the recent report by the BBC, which highlighted the extensive use of sexual violence in Xinjiang. I am sure the Minister will agree that the report was incredibly troubling and details what can only be described as torture and abuse of human rights and dignity. Can he explain why it is taking the Government so long to sanction Chinese officials? In the light of recent Magnitsky sanctions in the case of Myanmar, can he explain why they have yet to be used in the case of Xinjiang?

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The hon. Gentleman takes a keen interest in this subject, and I appreciate all the work he does on it. We are carefully considering further designations under our human rights sanctions regime, but he will appreciate that it is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce the impact of such sanctions.