Canada: Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstain from vote on genocide in China
Canada’s House of Commons voted to declare China committing genocide against more than one million Uyghurs in the western Xinjiang region, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained in the vote.
The non-binding motion passed Monday 266-0, almost all, except Trudeau and his cabinet, having voted for the measure that also called on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing.
A senior government official told The Associated Press that Canada’s Foreign Minister would make the government’s position clear, but said declaring something in parliament would not achieve enough results in China and that it was necessary to work with allies and international partners. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The main opposition parties supported the motion and control the majority of seats in the House of Commons. The Trudeau cabinet is made up of 37 Liberal lawmakers, including the Prime Minister. There are 154 lawmakers from Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the House of Commons and the rest of the Liberal lawmakers voted freely on the motion.
Conservative Party opposition leader Erin O’Toole said a signal must be sent to the Chinese regime.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said before stepping down that China’s policy against Muslims and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang amounted to crimes against humanity and genocide. His successor, Antony Blinken, reiterated this statement on his first day in office.
Researchers and rights groups estimate that since 2016, China has rounded up at least one million Uyghurs and other minorities in prisons and large indoctrination camps that the state calls training centers.
Pompeo cited forced birth control and forced labor widespread among Uyghurs. The Associated Press reported last year that the Chinese government systematically forced sterilization and abortion on Uyghurs and other Muslim women and sent many to camps simply for having too many children.
The vote is the latest attempt to hold China accountable for its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim-majority and ethnic Turkish minorities, who have been subjected to an unprecedented crackdown that has increasingly aroused international concern.
China denies any abuse and insists that the measures it has taken are necessary to fight terrorism and a separatist movement.
China’s envoy to Canada asked Canadian parliamentarians over the weekend to get rid of China’s internal affairs.
After the leader of the Conservative Party urged the government last week to pressure the International Olympic Committee to dislodge the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing, Trudeau was reluctant to use the word genocide, which he said. called an extremely loaded term.
Regarding the application of the very specific word genocide, we just need to make sure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before such a decision is made, Trudeau said last week.
O’Toole also said China is imposing a police state on Hong Kong and arbitrarily detaining two Canadians in Chinese prisons. He said if the Olympics were not moved, a boycott could be considered.
Canada continues to urge Beijing to release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both detained since December 2018 following Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive at Chinese tech company Huawei and the daughter of the founder of the company. Canadian police detained Meng in Vancouver on a US extradition request nine days before Kovrig and Spavor were arrested.
The United States seeks Meng’s extradition for fraud, and his extradition case is before Canadian courts. His arrest severely damaged relations between China and Canada. China also sentenced two other Canadians to death and suspended imports of canola.
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