Britain’s government presses China to allow UN rights inspectors to visit Xinjiang after raising anew allegations of “appalling” human rights abuses against the Uighur minority.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last week introduced import controls on firms that may have sourced goods from the region in northwest China using forced labor from the mainly Muslim Uighur community.
Speaking on the BBC, he decries reports of “slave labor effectively, forced sterilization, appalling human rights abuses.”
“Whether or not it amounts to genocide has to be determined by a court. The bar has been set incredibly high,” Raab says.
“And frankly we shouldn’t be engaged in free-trade negotiations with countries abusing human rights well below the limit of genocide,” he added, implicitly attacking the European Union for securing an investment pact with China last month.
Raab’s government opposes efforts underway in parliament to give UK courts the power to declare a genocide in Xinjiang, which would bar the government from proceeding with any free-trade agreement with China.
But Raab tells Sky News he supports “the spirit” of the proposal, and demands that China show more transparency over Xinjiang, where experts say at least one million Uighurs have been detained in recent years in political “re-education camps.”
“What China says is this is all lies cooked up by the West, and Britain a leading member amongst them,” the foreign secretary says. “What we say is if you dispute the allegations and the claims and the reports, there’s a simple way to clear this up: allow the UN Human Rights Commissioner to visit and access and see these sites.”