The House of Commons adopted the motion with 266 votes “for” and no vote “against”, the motion being introduced by the Conservative Party. Trudeau and his cabinet members abstained from voting, although the Liberals supported the move. From a legal point of view, the motion does not oblige the government to take action in accordance with Parliament’s vote.
The motion was amended just before the vote to introduce a proposal calling on the International Olympic Committee to order the organization of the 2022 Winter Olympics in another country if Beijing continues to persecute the minority.
Trudeau’s conservative opponents have put pressure on the prime minister to be tougher on China. Reuters recalls the 2018 incident when Canada arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant. In response, Beijing detained two Canadian citizens on charges of espionage, which led to strained bilateral relations.
Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused the Beijing government of depriving the Uighurs of freedom of belief and other individual freedoms, a policy that culminated in an entire oppressive system of surveillance, detention, indoctrination and even forced sterilization.
It all started in 2014, after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Xinjiang region following a terrorist attack by Uighur separatists. Shortly afterwards, according to documents presented by the New York Times, the communist leader ordered the authorities to act “without any mercy.”
Although the testimonies of those who escaped from these camps are quite rare, the Western press has repeatedly reported on the abuses to which the Muslim minority is subjected. Last month, the US government accused the Chinese authorities of “genocide”. In its reply, China claims that all the allegations of mass detention and forced sterilization are nothing but “absurd lies and allegations”.
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