The situation in Xinjiang against the Uyghur people is extremely distressing. As you may know I wrote to the foreign office last August to seek assurances that the government will endeavour to hold the Chinese government to account. Since then, the UK read out a statement on behalf of 27 countries in the UN Human Rights Council highlighting concerns about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions in Xinjiang, urging China to allow the High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region. Although this is welcome, the Government’s actions have sadly not matched their words.

As a matter of Parliamentary record I have called for the Government to use sanctions, supported amendments to stop the sale of goods which profit from forced labour in Xinjiang and acts of genocide from being sold in our country and wholeheartedly supported the BEIS select committee’s, which I sit on, report on the use of forced labour in Xinjiang:

I will continue to push to see that this government adopts those recommendations and takes meaningful action. Without this, their words mean nothing.

I would like to echo the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign view that the Chinese state is inflicting industrial-scale racist oppression on the Uyghur people along with other ethnic and national minority groups in north-west China. In Parliament, I have argued that this is state sanctioned Islamophobia.  The repression includes arbitrary mass internment and indoctrination of at least a million people in concentration camps; an extreme, intrusive, suffocating regime of mass surveillance; draconian restrictions on cultural, linguistic and religious freedom, including the virtual banning of Muslim religious practice; and the systematic separation of Uyghur children from their families.

This has been documented by many human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

My Labour colleagues Lisa Nandy MP and Emily Thornberry MP have called on Members on all sides to enable Parliament to “send a united message that genocide can never be met with indifference, impunity or inaction, and must certainly never be rewarded with preferential terms of trade.” I fully support that message and will continue to take the government to task until their actions match their words.

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