China slams Dutch motion declaring genocide in Xinjiang

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Feb 26, 2021, 10:26 PM(IST)

Uighur Muslims in China Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Dutch parliament passed the motion on Thursday that "genocide is underway in China against the Uighur minority," joining countries including Canada and the United States in applying the label.

China has condemned a motion passed by Dutch lawmakers declaring that Beijing's actions towards minority groups in Xinjiang amounted to genocide.

The Dutch parliament passed the motion on Thursday that "genocide is underway in China against the Uighur minority," joining countries including Canada and the United States in applying the label.

Rights groups believe at least one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in the northwestern region, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Friday, to this end, hit back at the motion, accusing Dutch lawmakers of using Xinjiang as an excuse to "deliberately smear China and crudely interfere in China's internal affairs."

"The facts show that there has never been any 'genocide' in Xinjiang," Wang told reporters at a regular briefing.

The Netherlands is the first European country to accuse China of genocide, after Canadian MPs and the US State Department made similar statements.

After initially denying the existence of the Xinjiang camps, China later defended them as vocational training centres aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism.

Beijing said last week that its treatment of ethnic minorities there and in Tibet "stood out as shining examples of China's human rights progress."

Wang on Friday said he hoped the Netherlands would "immediately stop its wrongdoings and take concrete actions to safeguard the overall situation of bilateral relations."

He also said EU representatives were welcome to visit Xinjiang, and accused the EU of causing delays to the trip by demanding to meet with "criminals" sentenced for separatism.

Earlier this week, in Beijing, a Chinese spokesperson held up the photograph of a victim who revealed abuses. In short, the wolf warriors called her an actor who is disseminating falsehoods.

When faced with criticism at global platforms, China has deployed its diplomats to fire back.

The same thing happened with Hong Kong. When China was criticised for its crackdown, it secured the support of more than 50 countries at the human rights council.

Similarly, when Xinjiang was raised in 2019, 54 countries signed a statement in support of China.

Now it's back in focus. The UK has called for a UN-led probe into the Uighur detention camps.

And the UN human rights chief is ready to visit Xinjiang.

But resolutions and criticism have little impact on China. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch said China has increased its persecution of Uighurs with more prosecutions and longer prison sentences.

Branding it a genocide is a welcome first step. The world needs to follow this up with more -- and make China pay.

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