The Magnitsky sanctions announced by the Foreign Secretary in July 2020 was a landmark moment for the United Kingdom, as it sets a new international gold standard for holding countries and individuals who violate human rights across the world accountable. However, while the Magnitsky sanctions focus heavily on the targeting of Russian individuals, there is a noticeable absence of citing human rights violations of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, China.
There is overwhelming evidence that the Chinese regime has been engaging in state-sponsored ethnic cleansing. Recently, a video re-emerged on social media, showing shaved men and women blindfolded and marched on to trains in Xinjiang.
However hard the Chinese Ambassador defended the Chinese Communist party's (CCP) version of life in Xinjiang, more footage of abuses and testimonies of traumatised survivors is coming to light. Women have shared stories of sexual abuse, with some reporting that they were forced to undergo abortions, have contraceptive devices implanted, or be fully sterilised. Population growth rates in the Uighur heartland plummeted by 84% between 2015 and 2018.
I have received an overwhelming volume of correspondence on the issue from Wealden residents. Like them, I am deeply concerned about China’s actions in Xinjiang. China’s suppression of human rights meets the United Nations definition of genocide and it amounts to the largest incarceration of an ethno-religious minority since the Holocaust. I urge the Foreign Secretary to use the United Kingdom’s moral and legal authority to proceed quickly on the basis of the overwhelming evidence in Xinjiang.
I has written various articles on the topic for national media. You can read them by clicking on the links below:
- The Telegraph, 10 July 2020: "We must not stay silent on China's ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims" - Available here.
- The Telegraph, 20 July 2020: "The only moral option we have is to defend the Uighur people from the Chinese state" - Available here.
- Politics Home, 22 July 2020: "The incarceration of the Uighurs is a nightmare we have a moral duty to end" - Available here.
- Jewish News, 22 August 2020: "Jewish News leads call for MPs to pressure China over Uighurs" - Available here.
- Jewish News, 1 October 2020: "150 MPs and peers back Jewish News Uyghur campaign" - Available here.
- The House Magazine, 1 October 2020, "Britain must not be a safe haven for businesses profiting from Uyghur forced labour" - Available here.
I am currently leading a parliamentary select committee inquiry which will explore the extent to which business in the UK are exploiting the forced labour of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This inquiry will help to get a clearer picture of the extent of the problem regarding UK-Xinjiang supply chains and recommend what steps the government could take to ensure that businesses and consumers in the UK do not perpetuate forced labour and human rights violations. For more information, please click here.