UK says China committing 'gross' abuses against Uighurs

Published July 19, 2020
This picture taken on June 26, 2017 shows a Muslim man arriving at the Id Kah Mosque for the morning prayer on Eid al-Fitr in the old town of Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. — AFP/File
This picture taken on June 26, 2017 shows a Muslim man arriving at the Id Kah Mosque for the morning prayer on Eid al-Fitr in the old town of Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. — AFP/File

Britain on Sunday accused Beijing of “gross, egregious human rights abuses” over its “deeply troubling” treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in China's western Xinjiang region.

Rights groups and experts estimate that more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the reports of forced sterilisations and mass detentions in the predominantly Muslim region required international attention.

“It is clear that there are gross, egregious human rights abuses going on... it is deeply, deeply troubling,” he told the BBC.

“The reports and the human aspects of it... are reminiscent of something we have not seen for a long, long time, and this is from a leading member of the international community that wants to be taken seriously.

“We want a positive relationship (with China), but we cannot see behaviour like that and not call it out,” Raab added.

His comments come as tensions between London and China are rising over a host of issues.

Britain on Tuesday bowed to sustained pressure from Washington and ordered the phased removal of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.

The two sides have also clashed over Beijing's imposition of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong.

'Resolute response'

The United States earlier this month slapped sanctions on senior Chinese officials, as it demanded an end to the “horrific” abuses against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.

Beijing swiftly responded with counter measures in one of the latest episodes in deteriorating US-China relations.

Raab said he will update British lawmakers on Monday on the UK government's next steps regarding Beijing's draconian new law in Hong Kong.

That will include announcing the outcome of a review of extradition arrangements with the former colonial territory.

However, China's ambassador to London warned Sunday that it will make a “resolute response” if Britain follows the US in sanctioning Chinese officials for the alleged abuses.

“We never believe in unilateral sanctions, we believe the UN (United Nations) has the authority to impose sanctions,” Liu Xiaoming told the BBC.

“If the UK government goes that far to impose sanctions on any individuals in China, China will certainly make resolute response to it.” Liu said he did not want to see “tit-for-tat” diplomatic skirmishes between Britain and Beijing, as was happening with the US.

“I think (the) UK should have its own independent foreign policy rather than dance to the tune of the Americans like what happened to Huawei,” he added.

Opinion

Editorial

UAE targeted
Updated 19 Jan, 2022

UAE targeted

MONDAY’S deadly drone strikes by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting the UAE, and subsequent retaliatory attacks on...
19 Jan, 2022

New province debate

THE private bill introduced by a PML-N senator seeking a new province in south Punjab amounts to oversimplification...
19 Jan, 2022

Omicron in Karachi

WITH the wedding season in full swing, it is no surprise that the Covid positivity rate in Karachi has been touching...
The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...