China: Ethnic Groups

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of The Bishop of St Albans The Bishop of St Albans Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China about reports of (1) forcible separations, and (2) re-education, of Uighur children in the eastern province of Xinjiang.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

We have serious concerns about the detention of more than a million Uyghurs, along with widespread surveillance and restrictions targeted at minorities. British diplomats in China visit Xinjiang every few months, in order to see at first-hand the situation there. They most recently visited in May 2019, and their observations have supported much of the recent open source reporting about the restrictions targeted at specific ethnic groups.

Ministers and senior officials frequently raise the human rights issues in the region with their Chinese counterparts, most recently in a public statement on 3 July at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council. The Foreign Secretary also highlighted our concerns with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his most recent visit to China, in July 2018. Later that month, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific did the same with his Chinese counterpart Vice Minister Guo Yezhou. Additionally, our Embassy in Beijing regularly raises the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang with the Chinese authorities.

Reports about forced separation of children add to the growing body of disturbing evidence highlighting the situation Uyghurs face in Xinjiang. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns with the Chinese government at all levels bilaterally and in appropriate UN fora, including the Human Rights Council.

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