I responded as the Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific to an Urgent Question on the on Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to suppress Uyghur birth rates in Xinjiang.
Chinese Communist Party has already incarcerated one million Uyghur Muslims into “re-education” camps. A new report points to horrific, draconian measures used to suppress Uyghur birthrates, including IUD insertions and sterilisation. I asked the UK government how it plans to respond:
Stephen Kinnock: The Chinese Communist party’s brutal campaign of oppression against the Uyghur people is a scar on the conscience of the world. The Labour party stands with the people of China, including the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, and we condemn any actions by the CCP that infringe their human rights. We know that 1.5 million Uyghurs are incarcerated in re-education camps and subjected to ideological indoctrination courses, where they must learn Mandarin Chinese, recite laws banning unapproved religious practices and sing songs praising the Chinese Communist party, and we know that beatings and solitary confinement are routinely used to punish those who fail to comply.
The accounts that have emerged today about the CCP’s draconian measures to suppress birth rates are utterly horrific—women subjected to forced IUD insertions, pregnancy prevention injections, sterilisation. The CCP appears to be engaged in what some experts are calling a campaign of demographic genocide. Will the Minister therefore confirm that the Government will call for an impartial international investigation into what is happening in Xinjiang? Will he confirm that the imposition of measures intended to prevent births within an ethnic or religious group is expressly forbidden under article II(d) of the UN convention on genocide? Will he confirm that any country that is a contracting party to the UN convention on genocide may call upon the UN to take appropriate action under articles IV, V and VI of the convention, and that the UK Government will therefore now make the necessary representations?
Does the Minister recognise that the CCP’s actions in Xinjiang reflect a wider pattern of behaviour of increasingly authoritarian policies at home and aggressive expansionism abroad, including in Hong Kong, Ladakh and the South China sea? Will he set out how the Government intend to defend human rights and the rule of law? Will the Government now engage proactively with the European Union, the US and Governments in the Asia-Pacific region who share our democratic values to lead the international response in building consensus against the CCP’s increasingly belligerent behaviour towards its own people?
Nigel Adams: I thank the hon. Gentleman for putting so concisely his concern on this matter. I can tell him that we have been very active on this issue. We have played a leading role in raising these concerns bilaterally and at the United Nations.
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. We have concerns about the detention and human rights abuses, with more than a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities detained in political re-education camps—some people may refer to them as other things—and we deplore the systematic restrictions on their culture and practice of Islam, alongside the targeted surveillance of minorities.
On 10 March, at the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, we raised our concerns specifically about the violations and with regard to forced labour in Xinjiang, under our item 4 statement. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised the same concerns about Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart. As I said in my statement, I have spoken directly to the Chinese ambassador to raise our concerns about human rights in Xinjiang. On 25 February, at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Minister responsible for human rights, Lord Ahmad, directly raised his concerns about Xinjiang during his opening address at the conference. We call on China to allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights unfettered access to the region.