Britain’s trade relationship with China is under threat after MPs proposed Uighurs should be allowed to petition UK court for genocide ruling.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the co-founder of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China which is campaigning to stop the human rights abuses of the Uighur community in China’s Xinjiang province, told the Daily Telegraph that a cross party group of MPs have joined forces to stop doing trade with countries accused of genocide.
Sir Iain, the former Conservative Party leader, said the MPs had “proposed an amendment to the trade bill which states that if it is deemed that a country is practicing genocide then the trade arrangements with that country should not stand”.
It is anticipated that the amendment to the trade bill, which was tabled at the weekend and adds the need for a high court judge to make a pre-determination on genocide, will be passed in the Lords.
Sir Iain previously told this newspaper he was convinced that the Chinese government was “performing the systematic eradication of the Uighur people”.
It comes after Tory MP Nus Ghani earlier this month launched an inquiry with the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (beis) exploring how it can look at the UK Uighur supply chain.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, also launched an inquiry into how best discourage private sector companies from contributing to human rights abuses of the Uighur people.
Mr Tugendhat previously warned in The Telegraph that “the mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang” which he said “has horrifying echoes of the 1930s”.
“We now have clear, undeniable evidence of the persecution of more than one million people in these so-called re-education camps, with credible reports of physical abuse, forced sterilisation, filthy living conditions and a state-led programme of indoctrination,” he said.
China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of Uighur Muslims and claims of alleged forced-labour abuses in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports as saying one million Muslims have been held in camps.
China has repeatedly denied mistreating Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism, accusing what it calls anti-China forces of smearing its Xinjiang policy.
In July, Washington imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US government to target human rights violators by freezing any US assets, banning U.S. travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.