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China: Uighurs

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 229115, tabled on 6 March 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the continued mass detention and mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in western China.

Answered on

14 March 2019

We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the Chinese Government’s deepening crackdown; including credible reports that over one million Uyghur Muslims have been held in re-education camps, and reports of widespread surveillance and restrictions targeted at ethnic minorities.

Ministers and senior officials have been raising our concerns directly with the Chinese authorities for some time, and will continue to do so. Lord Ahmad stressed the UK’s concerns about Xinjiang during his address at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in February 2019. I raised our concerns about Xinjiang with Vice Minister Guo Yezhou during my visit to China on 22 July 2018. The Foreign Secretary also raised our concerns about the region with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to China on 30 July 2018.

During China’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council on 6 November 2018, the UK made a statement which described our concern about the treatment of ethnic minorities in China, including Uyghurs. We issued a specific recommendation, calling on China to not only implement the recommendations by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Xinjiang, but also to allow the UN to monitor the implementation.

Following the Universal Periodic Review, Lord Ahmad issued a statement where he said: “I am very concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, including the re-education camps and the widespread surveillance and restrictions targeted at ethnic minorities, particularly the Uyghurs. The UK and many of our international partners have made clear during China’s UPR that this is a priority issue. We recommended that China should implement CERD recommendations in Xinjiang and allow the UN to monitor implementation.”