UK lawmakers declare genocide in Xinjiang, China

Britain’s parliament has become the latest government to declare China’s treatment of its Uighur citizens as genocide, attracting the condemnation of Beijing.

Lawmakers in the British House of Commons passed a motion unopposed after a three-hour debate Thursday declaring that the Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region of China “are suffering crimes against humanity and genocide.”

MP Nusrat Ghani, who China sanctioned along with four other members of parliament last month, introduced the bill telling lawmakers that while they must never misuse the term genocide they must also never fail to use it when warranted.

“Today, this parliament has a historic chance, together — regardless of party difference in most other matters — to hold its head up, stand tall and stand for those who have no voice,” she said in her introductory remarks. “Let us make the statement today, loud and clear, that the UK has not forgotten the Uighurs and others and that we will stand for them and insist that our government do exactly the same by calling this a genocide.”

Beijing has been accused by the United States, the European Union and other mostly Western nations of interning more than a million of its Uighur citizens in Xinjiang camps where they are subjected to forced labor, torture and sterilization.

It has also been accused of unlawful killings, forced disappearances and other human rights crimes — all of which China vehemently disputes, arguing the camps are to stamp out terrorism while demanding the foreign nations to stop interfering with its international affairs