China: Ethnic Groups

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 1st July 2021.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the genocide determination by the US Administration in respect of the treatment by China of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.

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

It is the long-standing policy of the UK Government that any judgment as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for a competent court. The US has a different process that is not linked to a court decision. The UK's approach, shared by many countries around the world, does not prevent us from taking action to address serious human rights violations, as we have done in the case of Xinjiang.

On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK had imposed, under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese government officials, as well as the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. These measures were taken alongside the US, Canada and the EU, sending a clear message to the Chinese Government that the international community will not turn a blind eye to such serious and systematic violations of basic human rights.

The UK has also led international efforts to holding China to account at the United Nations. On 22 June, a global UK diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. We also led the first joint statements on this issue at the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020 and the UN General Assembly Third Committee in October 2019. The growing caucus of international concern reflects UK diplomatic leadership.

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