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French parliament condemns China’s treatment of Uyghurs as ‘genocide’

France’s parliament has passed an opposition-led motion asking the government to condemn China for “crimes against humanity and genocide” against its Uyghur Muslim minority and to take foreign policy measures to make this stop.

The non-binding motion, led by the Socialist party and supported by several other opposition parties, was adopted on Thursday. with 169 votes for and one vote against.

It reads that the National Assembly “officially recognises the violence perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide.”

The motion calls on the French government to take necessary actions against China over the abuse.

Coming ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month, the motion also asked the government to protect Uyghur residents in France against any intimidation or harassment by China.

Activists and UN rights experts say at least one million Muslims are being detained in camps in the remote western region of Xinjiang. The campaigners and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations.

China denies any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

Following a similar vote in the Dutch parliament in February 2021, the Chinese Embassy in The Hague said any suggestion of a genocide in Xinjiang was an “outright lie” and that the Dutch parliament had “deliberately smeared China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in December that he did not want to “politicise” the Olympics.

The United States, Australia and Britain are among Western nations that have said they will not send officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in order to send China a message over its human rights record.


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