More than 100 British parliamentarians have written to China’s UK ambassador to condemn the ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims in the country’s north.
The letter, written by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh and signed by 76 MPs and 57 Lords, tells ambassador Liu Xiaoming that “chilling” footage of Uighur Muslims being sent to internment camps in China was similar to “historical footage of Nazi concentration camps”.
The group of parliamentarians – which includes Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith – expressed their “absolute condemnation” of the Chinese state, while accusing it of conducting a “systematic and calculated programme of ethnic cleansing against the Uighur people”.
It has been estimated that 1m Uighur Muslims are being held in internment camps in the northern Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Evidence has also been uncovered of forced sterilisations of Uighur women, with birth rates falling by as much as 60 per cent in some Muslim majority areas.
Xiaoming became a source of controversy in July, after he was shown footage during a BBC interview of hundreds of chained Uihurs being loaded onto trains headed for internment camps.
The Chinese ambassador responded to the footage by saying Xinjiang was the most beautiful place in China, before adding that the video was just a “transfer of prisoners” and that Uighurs have a “harmonious” life.
Tom Tugendhat, Tory MP and chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, called Xiaoming a “bully” in City A.M.’s podcast last month.
McDonagh said western countries had a responsibility to take action and put a stop to the oppression and ethnic cleansing in China.
“This is a systematic and calculated programme of ethnic cleansing against the Uighur people,” she said.
“Condemning it is one thing, taking action against a world super power is another.
“When the world is presented with such overwhelming evidence of gross human rights abuses, nobody can turn a blind eye.”
In July, foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused Beijing of committing “gross, egregious human rights abuses” against Uighurs.
However, there has been no formal British sanctions levelled against China for the country’s apparent ethnic cleansing campaign.