China‘s ambassador to Canada says reports of genocide and forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province are the “lie of the century,” despite international bodies like the United Nations deeming the reports of such activities “numerous and credible.”
Cong Peiwu on Wednesday held a virtual press conference with political journalists from several Canadian outlets, including Global News. The event came a little over one week after the House of Commons voted to recognize China’s treatment of Uyghurs as a genocide.
“Those MPs voting in the House of Commons, most of them, I’m afraid, have never been to Xinjiang or even to China in the last years, so how can they judge the situation on the ground?” he said.
‘They simply, some of them, are doing things out of political intention and trying to secure political gains.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal cabinet abstained from that vote.
No MPs voted against it.
Chinese ambassador says House of Commons genocide declaration vote is for ‘political gains’
Cong said that there is no truth to the growing international concerns and condemnation of China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, which include accusations of forced sterilization.
“Allegations of genocide and forced labour in Xinjiang are the lie of the century,” said Cong, echoing Beijing’s insistence that the facilities in China’s northwestern province are about “re-education.”
“They are no different than the deradicalization centres in France.”
However, UN estimates suggest as many as one million Uyghurs are being held in the facilities, which human rights groups say are actually sites of forced labour that represent rampant human rights abuses against the Muslim minority group carried out under the claim of counterterrorism.
A legal opinion issued by senior U.K. barristers last month determined that “there is a very credible case that acts carried out by the Chinese government against the Uighur people in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region amount to crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.”
The BBC reported that opinion was commissioned — but not paid for — by the Global Legal Action Network, the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
— More to come.
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