MPs call for parliament pension fund to divest from Chinese firms linked with Uyghur atrocities
A cross-party group of 117 MPs have called for the Parliament Pension fund to divest from Chinese companies linked to Xinjiang – the region where Uyghurs are being ethnically cleansed.
The group of MPs – which includes shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox – also called for the pension fund to divest from any “institutions linked to the Chinese state”.
The Parliament Pension Fund, managed in part by investment giant Blackrock, has £2.9 million invested in Alibaba and £900,000 in Tencent.
It also invests in China Construction Bank and chemicals company Sinopec.
“Aside from being two of the largest technology companies in China, Alibaba and Tencent regularly collaborate with the Chinese state in maintaining internet censorship through the ‘Great Firewall’ and have provided the government with surveillance patents for software which has been put to use against the Uyghurs,” the MPs said.
“Chinese state-owned banks are also the largest bankroller of Chinese state owned enterprises, which in turn have spent the last decade buying up a substantial amount of strategic infrastructure in the UK.”
Beijing has been accused of ethnically cleansing Uyghur Muslims in the northern Chinese state of Xinjiang, with some governments branding it as genocide.
Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are thought to be in labour camps in Xinjiang, while there is also widespread evidence of forced sterilisation and the destruction of Mosques.
The UK has slapped sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uyghurs, while British companies are also banned from buying goods from companies that are alleged to be involved with the ethnic cleansing campaign.
Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh MP said: “When the world is presented with such overwhelming evidence of gross human rights abuses, nobody can turn a blind eye.
“But we must also ask ourselves what it means to be complicit and that’s why I’m horrified to learn that our own pension fund is invested in Chinese institutions with close ties to the state. If we look on, history will condemn our unforgivable cowardice and ask why those in power did not act.
“Warm words are simply not enough because this time no one can say that they did not know.”