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EU lawmakers push to label China’s rights abuses against Uyghurs as ‘genocide’

June 7, 2022

AP Photo/Matt Dunham - Demonstrators supporting Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers take part in a protest against the Chinese Communist Party as they march along Regent Street towards the Chinese Embassy, in London, England, on October 1, 2021.

The resolution to be presented to the EU parliament this week

European lawmakers are pushing to pass a resolution labeling the recently uncovered human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Chinese Xinjiang as “genocide.”

Negotiations on finalizing the text of the resolution will start on Tuesday with the vote on it to be taken later on Thursday, according to the Jerusalem Post. The motion is reportedly backed by four leading parties of the European Parliament: European People’s Party (EPP), the Renew Group, the Socialist and Democrats (S&Ds) and the Conservatives and Reformists. The initiative comes weeks after a major data leak exposed over 5,000 Xinjiang police images of Uyghurs who were detained in so-called “re-education camps” between January and July 2018. Leaked data shows evidence of physical force being used against the detainees, many of whom have been imprisoned for basic expressions of their religious views or for visiting countries with Muslim population.

The United States already labelled China's actions in Xinjiang a "genocide" and "crimes against humanity," but European lawmakers refrained from using the term despite adopting several resolutions on Xinjiang. The upcoming vote could signify a stronger stance on the matter among leading EU parties that have previously supported closer ties with China.

Earlier in May, the UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet visited China but stressed that her trip did not amount to an official investigation sparking criticism among human rights activists and NGOs.

Over 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are estimated to be held in detention centers and prisons built across the Xinjiang region since 2017. Chinese officials insist that Uyghurs are kept in education centers and call for the human rights issues to not be “politicized.”


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