Canada’s parliament voted to declare China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region genocide, becoming the second country in the world to do so after the United States.
Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most of his cabinet abstained in the vote, the non-binding motion presented by the opposition Conservative Party received overwhelming support in the House of Commons and was passed by 266 votes against zero.
MPs also backed a motion calling on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if China “continues this genocide.”
Mr Trudeau has been under pressure nationally to take a tougher stance on China, but has so far been cautious in calling the Chinese state’s actions in Xinjiang province genocide, calling it genocide. term “extremely busy”.
The vote in parliament is likely to further strain diplomatic relations between two countries whose relations deteriorated dramatically in December 2018 with the arrest of senior Huawei leader Meng Wanzhou in Canada following a tenure. American stop. Within days, China arrested two Canadian nationals – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – for espionage.
We cannot be silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims. Today we call on the Trudeau government to recognize the Uyghur genocide. My statement: pic.twitter.com/0z2jbHXu58
– Erin O’Toole (@erinotoole) February 18, 2021
China has been widely condemned for its detention of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region in what a UN group has called a “massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy.” More than a million Uyghurs have reportedly been placed in camps in Xinjiang province, where former detainees have accused guards and officials of systematic rape and sexual violence.
China has repeatedly defended its network of facilities in the province, calling them voluntary “vocational training centers” while portraying them as a necessary part of counterterrorism efforts.
Preempting the result of the Canadian parliamentary vote, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu said on Saturday that “there is no so-called ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang at all.”
“A few people in Canada and other western countries talk about standing up for values, but an important part of values should be: respect the facts and stop spreading disinformation and even lies,” Cong told reporters. .
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