Canada hypocritical to label Xinjiang genocide, Chinese state newspaper says

03-Mar-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper has hit back at a motion passed by the Canadian parliament last week that said Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang constituted genocide, claiming that the label applied to Canada’s past treatment of its own indigenous people.

“Canada is notorious for its human rights record, but some politicians have indulged in ideological confrontation and cooked up an anti-China farce,” read a Sunday commentary in Zhong Sheng, a column in party mouthpiece People’s Daily that tackles international issues. The pseudonym translates as “the voice of China”.

“It’s doomed to fail and to be despised,” the column said.

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It was referring to a non-binding motion passed last Monday by Canada’s parliament by a vote of 266-0, which said China’s policies in Xinjiang, in its far west, amounted to genocide against Uygurs and other mostly Muslim minorities. prime minister Justin Trudeau and most members of his cabinet abstained from the vote.

The motion also called on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if the treatment continued.

The People’s Daily commentary said Canada should instead reflect upon itself. “In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the practice of residential schools for indigenous people a ‘cultural genocide’,” the article read.

The last such residential school was closed in the late 1990s.

The column also referred to another Canadian report released in 2019 by the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which concluded that decades of policy and state indifference had amounted to genocide against indigenous peoples.

The Canadian government, including Trudeau and former prime minister Stephen Harper, have apologised on multiple occasions for these past policies. The People’s Daily article did not mention those statements.

“Some Canadian politicians have not been to Xinjiang or even China,” the column said. “To disseminate lies and add fuel to attempts to disrupt Xinjiang’s social stability is in itself a breach of human rights.”

Discussions of policies in Xinjiang are gaining traction in many developed countries. The Dutch parliament on Thursday became the first European legislature to call the Chinese treatment of its Muslim minorities a “genocide”.

In January, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believed China’s treatment of Uygurs constituted genocide. Blinken backed the determination of the Trump administration that China was committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” through arbitrary imprisonment of Uygurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgys and other minority groups, torture and forced labour.

The United Nations has said it received credible reports that more than a million members of minorities in Xinjiang have been detained in internment camps. China denies abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and fight extremism.

The US House of Representatives two weeks ago reintroduced a bipartisan bill to ban imports from Xinjiang unless it is proved they are not produced using forced labour.

The Chinese government has taken offence at accusations over its Xinjiang policies, but its defence has not convinced critics.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin last week said an invitation to visit Xinjiang had been sent to European delegations in China, who had yet to accept.

Foreign diplomats have said previously that such a visit would be meaningful only if an independent fact-finding mission were allowed to tour Xinjiang freely and interview locals without restrictions.

Beijing had agreed to let Chen Quanguo Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang and a member of the party’s decision-making Politburo meet the delegations during a proposed visit this month, the South China Morning Post has learned. The European delegates were not satisfied with other arrangements for the proposed trip and did not accept the offer.


Category: China

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