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Canada Parliament describes treatment of Uighur Muslims in China as ‘genocide’

A few hours before the vote, China's ambassador to Canada called on the country criticising the vote and warning the country against interfering in the internal matters of China

Published: Feb 23, 2021, 09.07 AM(IST)

Canada has joined the US in the list of countries that have described China’s inhumane treatment of the Uighur minority community as a ‘genocide’.

After a parliamentary vote in the country, Canada’s lawmakers have approved a non-binding motion that recognises China’s treatment of the Uighur community in the Xinjiang province as a genocide.

While Canada’s Prim Miniter Justin Trudeau and a few other senior cabinet members skipped the vote, that was held on Monday, all other Liberal members voted in favour of this motion — the only exception being Marc Garneau, who abstained on behalf of the government.

The motion “Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide” passed unanimously in the Canadian House of Commons

This can also bring diplomatic problems for Trudeau who has been trying desperately to strike a balance between pushing back China to its limits and maintaining a cordial relationship with the Asian country.

However, the relationship has faced a stain of “hostage diplomacy” since the arrest of Huawei’s top leader Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.

A few hours before the vote, China’s ambassador to Canada called on the country criticising the vote and warning the country against interfering in the internal matters of China.

“We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to the facts. And it’s like, you know, interfering in our domestic affairs,” said Cong Peiwu. “There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all.”

Canada’s Conservative party, who brought this motion in the parliament, feel this was an important step to show to the world, and to China, that Canada “will stand up for human rights and the dignity of human rights, even if it means sacrificing some economic opportunity”.

China has rejected these allegations and claimed that its treatment of the minority community “stood out as shining examples of China’s human rights progress.”

Additionally, Foreign Minister Wang Yi later told the UN Human Rights Council via video link that “there has never been so-called genocide, forced labor or religious oppression in Xinjiang.”

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