Thank you for contacting me about the treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the motion debated in Parliament on 22 April.
Respect for human rights underpins the UK's foreign policy which is why the situation in Xinjiang is one of very deep concern. The evidence that systematic human rights violations are being perpetrated against the Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang is now overwhelming and I completely agree that it is the duty of the UK and our allies to ensure that this does not go unanswered.
As I am sure you will have seen, the UK regularly makes representations to China on this issue and has repeatedly called on the Chinese Government to allow UN experts unfettered access to Xinjiang, including by the Foreign Secretary at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 22 February. China has so far refused engage in these efforts, but I know that Ministers and UK officials will continue to lead the international effort to facilitate such access and hold China to account.
I also welcome the UK’s imposition of sanctions on 22 March, in unison with the US, EU and Canada, against four senior Chinese officials and one entity (the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps) responsible for systematic violations of the human rights of the Uyghurs.
With regard to the motion to which you refer on 22 April, the term “genocide” has a specific definition in international law and it is the UK's long-standing policy that any judgment as to whether war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide have occurred is ultimately a judicial rather than a political decision. However, the Government and MPs condemned China’s behaviour in the strongest possible terms and you will be delighted to know that the House passed the motion unanimously without a Division.
I will, of course, continue to follow this situation very closely and will keep urging Ministers and UK officials to carry on with their important diplomatic work.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking