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Updated February 23rd, 2021 at 12:18 IST

Canada's parliament votes to recognise China's treatment of Uyghurs as 'genocide'

Canada on Monday became the second country in the world to describe China’s treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority as a ‘genocide’ in the Xinjiang region.

Aanchal Nigam
Canada
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Canada on Monday became the second country in the world to describe China’s treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority as a ‘genocide’ after the House of Commons voted on the western Xinjiang region. Even though Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the contentious vote, the parliamentary move is likely to further raise the diplomatic tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. The lawmakers approved the non-binding motion which was proposed by the opposition Conservatives to recognise China’s actions in Xinjiang where according to the United Nations (UN) at least one million Uyghurs are ‘detained’. 

Canada’s move came after the United States made the determination shortly before former US President Donald Trump left office. Further, a similar attempt on a vote was made in the United Kingdom (UK) but failed earlier this month. All members of the ruling Liberal Party voted in favour of the motion except reportedly the foreign affairs minister, Marc Garneau who abstained on behalf of the government. Trudeau and the senior members of his cabinet did not attend the Monday vote. 

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Genocide was an ‘extremely loaded’ term

Canadian PM, whose Liberal part governs without a parliamentary majority has previously spoken against bringing the motion to a vote. Trudeau even told the reporters previously that genocide was an “extremely loaded” term and called for more study on the matter before a determination, such as made on Monday, could be made. In recent years, Trudeau has even attempted to strike a balance between pushing back against China’s hostilities while also maintaining cordial diplomatic relations with the Asian country. 

As per the Guardian report, over the weekend China’s ambassador to Canada denounced the parliamentary vote. Cong Peiwu told the Canadian Press that the officials in Ottawa should remain out of China’s internal politics. He said, “We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to the facts. And it’s like, you know, interfering in our domestic affairs...There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all.”

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Published February 23rd, 2021 at 12:20 IST

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