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Canadian Parliament Says China's Treatment of Uighurs is Genocide

Canadian Parliament Says China's Treatment of Uighurs is Genocide

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 - 09:00
Protesters gather outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canada's parliament passed a non-binding motion on Monday saying China's treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region constitutes genocide, putting pressure on Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to follow suit.


Canada's House of Commons voted 266-0 for the motion brought by the opposition Conservative Party. Trudeau and his Cabinet abstained from the vote, although Liberal backbenchers widely backed it.


The motion was also amended just before the vote to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if the treatment continues.


Rights groups say at least one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang.


Trudeau's Conservative rivals have been pressuring him to get tougher on China. After Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on a US warrant, China detained two Canadians on spying charges, igniting lingering diplomatic tensions between the two countries.


China said on Tuesday that it condemned and rejected the Canadian parliament’s move.


In January, then US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: "We are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state."


His successor, Antony Blinken, has said he agreed with the label, and vowed to stay tough on China.


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