British parliament is the latest to declare China committing ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang

Foreign Affairs

After Canada and the Netherlands, the U.K. has become the third country to pass a nonbinding motion in parliament declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide.”

Illustration by Derek Zheng

Yesterday, the British parliament became the third to pass a nonbinding motion declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang as “genocide.”

  • Canada and the Netherlands passed similar motions in February and March, respectively.
  • In all three cases, top government ministers have taken a different tack, either abstaining from the vote or objecting to the measures for various reasons.
  • In the U.K., Asia minister Nigel Adams reiterated the government’s view that there is “clear and systematic abuse of human rights” in Xinjiang, but that determining genocide was best left to “competent national and international courts.”

The Chinese Embassy in the U.K. slammed the measure (in English, Chinese), asserting that the nonbinding motion “gravely violates international law” and “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs.”

Five Eyes, but no unified vision?

The U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and U.S. — partners under the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing alliance — have all taken harder stances on China in recent years.

More to read on relations between “Five Eyes” countries and China: