China: Uighurs

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 29th March 2021.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department made of the implications for the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy of Chinese treatment of Uighur people in Xinjiang province during the period of that review.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The situation in Xinjiang is one of the worst human rights crises of our time. The Government has repeatedly made its concerns clear and advocates that China must be held to account for their human rights violations. The Foreign Secretary’s announcement in Parliament on Monday 22 March of sanctions targeting four key individuals alongside the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps represents the latest of a series of actions which send an unequivocal message that those responsible for serious human rights violations in China will face consequences.

This latest action reflects the approach and objectives articulated in the Integrated Review; the UK is committed to being a force for good in standing up for human rights around the world, using our independent sanction regime to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations and abuses.

The Review recognises that China presents a complex, systemic challenge to the UK and our allies. As the Review makes clear, we need to be prepared to push back to protect our values and global interests, while maintaining our ability to cooperate in tackling global challenges such as climate change and the mutual benefits of our economic relationship. The UK wants a mature, positive relationship with China, based on mutual respect and trust. There is considerable scope for constructive engagement and cooperation. But as we strive for that positive relationship, we will not sacrifice either our values or our security. As we continue to engage, we will always protect our national interests and hold China to its international commitments and promises.

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