The debate on Monday was triggered because more than 146,000 signed a petition calling for Britain to impose sanctions in response to human rights violations. China is accused of incarcerating up to one million people in so-called re-education camps in Xinjiang and there are reports of women being forcibly sterilised and widespread religious persecution. The economic superpower denies mistreatment of Muslims but the United States has levelled sanctions against senior Communist Party officials and condemned “forced labour, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith”.
Pressure is now building on the UK to take action. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has not ruled out boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics in protest at the treatment of the Uyghurs.
Tomorrow’s debate will be led by Islwyn Labour MP Chris Evans.
He is expected to tell MPs: “Detainees in Xinjiang ‘re-education camps’ have reported beatings, electric shocks, and sleep and food deprivation. Reports of women who have faced forced sterilisations and abortions are alarmingly widespread.
“The campaign against the Uyghurs is total – many are being forced into factory labour; transported to factories for up to a year before being allowed to return to their families… To do nothing in the face of such human rights abuses is to allow the continued suffering of many.”
In response to the petition, the Government said: “We have grave concerns about the gross human rights abuses being perpetrated in Xinjiang. But it is not appropriate to speculate about future sanctions designations, as this may reduce their impact.”