China: UK policy — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:56 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister (Justice) 4:56 pm, 7th May 2019

It is a pleasure to speak in the debate under your chairmanship, Sir Edward. As we consider our Government’s relationship with China, we must not lose our ability to speak openly and frankly about the actions of the Chinese Government. China’s prosperity is highly impressive, and China has developed innovative solutions on many fronts to bring unprecedented numbers of people out of extreme poverty. I am sure that all Members present agree that, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, a strong relationship with China is essential. However, it is simultaneously necessary that we discuss areas where its Government may have fallen short of the standards that we expect of our trading partners and allies.

Last week, Ramadan began across the world. However, we have strong reason to believe that few of the Uyghur minority in Chinese eastern Xinjiang could practise their faith. In recent years, authorities have termed fasting a sign of extremism, dangerously conflating a mainstream religious practice with radicalism. Any sign of so-called extremism—such signs include wearing a veil, regular prayer and avoidance of alcohol—can lead to imprisonment in one of the huge internment camps that have been springing up across the region over the last few years.