Canadian MPs on Monday, February 22, adopted a non-binding motion equating China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority with “Genocide” and calling on the Justin Trudeau government to do the same. The motion, tabled on the initiative of the Conservatives (opposition), was passed unanimously in the House of Commons by 266 votes to 338. The other members, including the ministers of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, abstained.
This motion recognizes that “The Uyghurs in China have been and are subject to genocide”. To support their request, the deputies point out in particular “Political and anti-religious indoctrination”, “Forced labor” and “Destruction of cultural sites” suffered by this Muslim minority in Xinjiang. An amendment to the motion calling for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to be moved if the “genocide” continues, was also adopted.
The Chinese Embassy in Canada rejected this motion in a statement, “A shameful act”, calling Canadian MPs“Hypocrites and shameless” for having recourse “On the excuse of Human Rights to engage in political manipulation in Xinjiang in order to interfere in China’s internal affairs”.
According to foreign experts, more than a million Uyghurs are in detention in political re-education camps. Beijing denies and claims that these are vocational training centers intended to distance them from terrorism and separatism after attacks attributed to Uyghurs.
“Now the Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to respect Parliament and officially recognize that a genocide is happening in China”said their leader, Erin O’Toole, who for months has called on Ottawa to toughen up the tone against Beijing.
“The Government of Canada takes any allegation of genocide extremely seriously”Foreign Minister Marc Garneau reacted in a statement, recalling that Canada favored a concerted approach with its allies on this issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted on Friday that “Huge human rights violations have been reported in Xinjiang”. He clarified, at the end of a G7 meeting, that Canada was consulting with its partners in the international community on the use of the term “genocide” already used by the administration of Donald Trump.
Relations between Canada and China are going through an unprecedented crisis since the arrest at the end of 2018 of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and his compatriot Michael Spavor, accused of espionage, a few days after that of a Huawei executive , Meng Wanzhou, at Vancouver Airport. The financial director of the Chinese giant was arrested at the request of the American justice who wants to try her for bank fraud.
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