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China: Uighurs

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 259918, tabled on 4 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the extent of corruption within the (a) designing and planning, (b) constructing and physically maintaining and (c) running the network of detention camps targeting ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, China.

Answered on

11 June 2019

We have not made an assessment of the extent of corruption within the so-called “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. Nevertheless, we have particularly serious concerns about the credible reports of over a million Uyghurs and other minorities being detained in these camps.

Indeed, ministers and senior officials frequently raise the issue with their Chinese counterparts. The Foreign Secretary highlighted our concerns with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his most recent visit to China. Later that month, I did the same with my Chinese counterpart Vice Minister Guo Yezhou. Additionally, our Embassy in Beijing regularly raises the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang with the Chinese authorities.

Further, we spoke publicly about the situation in the region at the 40th UN Human Rights Council in February and March. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, also raised our concerns during his opening address on 25 February, and the UK spoke about Xinjiang during our “Item 4” national statement on 12 March. Following this, we co-sponsored a side event on “Protecting the fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang” on 13 March which helped to raise awareness of the situation among the international community.

Moreover, in our statement at China’s Universal Periodic Review on 6 November, we made clear our concern about the treatment of Uyghurs in China. The UK issued a specific recommendation to China that it implements the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s recommendations on Xinjiang and allows the UN to monitor the implementation.