A Canadian parliamentary panel has described the persecution of the Uighurs in Xinjiang as a “genocide”, asking the government to recognise it as such and to impose sanctions against Chinese officials responsible.
The Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development said it was “profoundly disturbed” at what it heard in testimony from witnesses and “convinced of the need for a strong response.”
Witnesses said “the government of China has been employing various strategies to persecute Muslim groups living in Xinjiang, including mass detentions, forced labour, pervasive state surveillance and population control. Witnesses were clear that the government of China’s actions are a clear attempt to eradicate Uighur culture and religion,” it said in a statement.
The panel called upon the Canadian government to “condemn the government of China’s actions against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang” and “recognise that the acts being committed in Xinjiang against Uighurs constitute genocide and work within legal frameworks of international bodies to recognise that acts being committed against Uighurs constitute genocide.”
The subcommittee was “deeply disturbed by the use and apparent efficiency” and “inhumane population control measures” in the area.
This was “the largest mass detention of a minority community since the Holocaust,” it noted.
Survivors of concentration camps said “detainees are abused psychologically, physically and sexually.”
The subcommittee is chaired by Peter Fonseca, an MP belonging to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party caucus.
It said that the panel was told that “women and girls are regularly subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence”. It also called for action from the government with regard to supply chains for goods that may have been manufactured in China through the use of forced labour in Xinjiang. The panel recommended that the government “investigate potentially problematic sources of consumer goods and to take a strong stand against the use of forced labour, particularly when it involves Canadian companies.”
It also sought enhancement of import control mechanisms “to prevent products made with forced labour from entering the Canadian market” while also seeking imposition of “sanctions on entities and individuals that benefit from the use of forced labour.”
It also pointed to the pervasive state surveillance of the minorities in Xinjiang and warned that the Canadian government should ensure Canadian technology companies were in no way linked to the monitoring. It said that Canada should “take the necessary steps and conduct a review to ensure Canadian individuals, companies and public bodies are not investing in technology companies involved in supporting or facilitating the abuse of fundamental human rights in China.”
Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said he was “deeply disturbed” by the subcommittee’s findings. According to the outlet CBC News, he said, “Canada takes the allegations of genocide very seriously.”