Canada Commons vote on genocide in China likely to draw rebuke from Beijing: expert
Conservatives urge Liberal MPs to support motion declaring persecution of Uighurs a genocide
Conservative MPs say they want all members of Parliament to join them in voting for a motion that would label Chinese human rights abuses targeting Muslims in the western Xinjiang region as genocide. The motion would have Parliament officially declare China's actions against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims a genocide in accordance with the definition set out in the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention.
OTTAWA – The House of Commons voted Monday to formally label the Chinese government’s actions against the Uyghur people a genocide, a move likely to draw a strong rebuke from Beijing, one of Canada’s former ambassadors warned.
The non-binding Conservative motion called on the government to denounce the genocide and urged the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Games from Beijing.
Beijing rebukes Canada over Uighur genocide vote
The Chinese government lashed out at Canada today after the House of Commons voted to declare that China is committing genocide against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in its western Xinjiang region. MPs passed a motion Monday saying that China's persecution of these groups amounts to genocide in accordance with the definition set out in the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, and called on the federal government to formally adopt that position. In a media briefing in Beijing this morning, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry said the Commons motion disregarded facts and was aimed at maligning and smearing China.
The Liberal cabinet, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, abstained from the vote or simply failed to show. But the motion received otherwise unanimous support passing 266 to 0, with many backbench Liberals MPs voting in favour.
The Uyghurs are a Muslim minority group in the Xinjiang region of China. Multiple human rights groups and journalists have documented widespread abuse of the Uyghurs including massive detention camps, arbitrary violence, forced sterilization and sexual violence directed against Uyghur women.
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, said the government in Beijing will likely show its displeasure because it wants to send a message to other nations.
“China is very concerned that Western countries will get together and declare that genocide is taking place,” he said. “(China) may want to impose sanctions, further sanctions on Canada, so as to warn other countries that would want to do the same thing that they will pay a price.”
Ontario Uighur Muslims call for more action following Canada's genocide vote
Two Ontario Uighur Muslims say they feel mixed about the House of Commons' vote declaring China's treatment of the Uighurs a genocide.While they appreciate the acknowledgement, they feel Canada needs to take action against China and hold it accountable for its persecution of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
Over the weekend, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, disputed any genocide was taking place and said Ottawa should butt out of the country’s internal affairs.
“We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to the facts. And it’s like, you know, interfering in our domestic affairs,” Cong told The Canadian Press. “There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all.”
A Liberal government source speaking on background said the cabinet abstained to draw a distinction between the government’s view and Parliament’s and to continue to address the issue diplomatically. Cabinet wants to address it with allies alongside the other issues Canada has with China, including the ongoing detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
O'Toole calls for relocation of Beijing Olympics due to China's 'genocide' of Uighurs
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is calling on the government to push for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved outside China amid "genocide" against minority Uighurs. “I think Canadians would agree that it would violate fundamental ethical principles to participate in an Olympic Games hosted by a country that is committing a genocide against part of its population," he said Tuesday. O'Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should reach out to the International Olympic Committee to seek to move the games.
The source said Trudeau raised the issue during last week’s G7 meeting and the government wants a coordinated international response to China. The U.S. has also labelled China’s actions as a genocide, a move former president Donald Trump made in his last days in office, but which has been supported by the incoming Biden administration. Other Western nations have raised concerns about the issue, but most have not formally labelled China’s actions a genocide.
On Friday, Trudeau said he was concerned about what was happening in Xinjiang, but he declined to outline what his government would do.
“We are, of course, extremely concerned with the situation around human rights in Xinjiang. We have expressed many times our apprehension and our disagreement with what is going on.”
Saint-Jacques said the Chinese government will see the vote as a direct attack and won’t place any importance on Trudeau and his cabinet abstaining.
“They won’t mark a difference between the government and Parliament, for them it’s all the same.”
Saint-Jacques said the Chinese, for instance, didn’t understand why the Liberal government couldn’t simply order Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou released following her arrest. He said the Chinese system doesn’t separate between courts, parliaments and government.
Declare crimes against Uighurs in China a genocide, Conservatives to urge Commons
OTTAWA — The Conservatives are calling for the House of Commons to formally declare crimes against minority Muslims in China a genocide. They're tabling a motion in the House of Commons today, which calls on Canada to take the same stand against China's treatment of Uighur Muslims as other countries have already done. The move is the latest by the Tories to ratchet up pressure on the Liberal government to move beyond calls for an international investigation and to take action in response to the situation faced by Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
Saint-Jacques said the Chinese government will look to places where they can punish a Canadian industry, but only where it won’t hurt China’s economy.
“They may want to put more pressure on Canada by imposing tariffs on Canadian products that they can source elsewhere,” he said. “They will have to think about where they want to hurt us. And again, it will be a warning to other countries that if you dare to go this route, you will pay a price as well.”
In 2018, not long after Wanzhou’s arrest, in addition to detaining Kovrig and Spavor, the Chinese government imposed export restrictions on Canadian canola.
Brian Innes, vice president of public affairs with the Canola Council of Canada, said that continues to hit Canadian farmers.
“Since canola seed exports were blocked almost two years ago, our exports of canola seed to China have been down 50 to 70 per cent,” he said in an email. “This has lowered prices, and, in turn, reduced the amount of canola grown by farmers.”
The council declined to comment on Monday’s vote, but said exports of the oilseed have fallen from $2.8 billion in 2018, before the restrictions, to $800 million in 2019 and $1.4 billion in 2020.
Innes said China buys more than half of the canola sold around the world.
Every horror movie of 2021 (so far), definitively ranked (including the unholy 'Saint Maud')
Because we love our fright fests, we're ranking every horror film that comes out in 2021, including the unholy new release "Saint Maud."
“The Chinese restrictions have meant less value is coming from canola exports to support our industry here in Canada,” he said. “When access to the world’s largest market is blocked, this reduces our ability to get the most value for our product in global markets.”
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said he is aware there will be consequences of the vote in Parliament, but said that shouldn’t stop Canada from acting.
“There’s already some security risks and trade disruption risks with China but that shouldn’t deter us doing what is right.”
O’Toole said Trudeau’s absence on the vote is an appalling failure of his leadership.
“We call on the Trudeau government to show up for work on human rights and stop their naive approach to China. The Liberal government needs to stand up for what is right” he said.
He said Trudeau should begin by recognizing the motion in Parliament, call for the Olympics to be moved and start working with allies to apply more pressure on the Chinese government.
• Email:| Twitter:
Uighurs: the Dutch Parliament accuses China of genocide, Beijing outraged .
© AFP Demonstration in support of the Uighurs. Dutch MPs have voted on a non-binding motion that qualifies China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority as genocide, an unprecedented move by a member country of the European Union. Beijing refutes the term. "Genocide is occurring in Xinjiang," says the text voted on by the deputies, thus avoiding directly accusing the Chinese government of being responsible.