China: Dominic Raab slams treatment of Uighur Muslims
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Last week, China imposed sanctions on nine British citizens, including former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee. The sanctions mean those named are banned from entering Hong Kong or Macau as well as mainland China.
It is believed the sanctions were imposed on those who have been outspoken over China’s persecution of the Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
But now, human rights activist Philip Baldwin believes relations between Beijing and Britain will continue to deteriorate unless China conforms to global norms on human rights.
Mr Baldwin told Express.co.uk: “The sanctions which the UK imposed in March, they were the first sanctions on officials imposed over human right abuses.
“It was actually the first time in 30 years the UK or the EU have punished China for any human rights violations.
“I think the situation is changing. Five, ten years ago, UK politicians were potentially talking about a new golden era for trade and relations with China.
“My view is relations will continue to deteriorate unless China does start to conform to global norms on human rights.
“But what we have seen over the last two years suggests exactly the opposite.”
Mr Baldwin went on to accused China of “escalating” the situation due to Beijing’s persecution of the Uighur Muslims.
He said: “It is China who have been escalating this by continuing to persecute the Uighurs and also in Hong Kong were they used the pandemic as a pretext to stop people protesting and once people were off the streets they brought in draconian laws and destroyed the ‘two party one state’ system which had been in place since Britain handed the territory back.
“I think relations will deteriorate but this is due to actions that China has taken.”
The human rights activist continued his attack on the Communist nation and said the sanctions on prominent backbenchers was a “threat to the Government”.
Mr Baldwin continued: “I think by sanctioning those particular MPs, the Chinese were themselves behaving in a very subversive way.
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“They did not decide to sanction [Foreign Secretary] Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson or Government ministers but instead went for prominent backbenchers who have spoken out against the persecution of Uighur Muslims.
“It was almost like a threat to the Government that what has happened to the backbench MPs could also happen to them if they continue to criticise the human rights abuses that China is engaged in.
“I don’t think it’s really a case of provoking China at all.
“If anything, imposing these sanctions will only encourage those who have been sanctioned to speak out more.
“For those MPs to continue to speak out, that is not provoking China, it is standing up for the Uighur minority in China who do not have a voice at all.”
Human rights groups have accused the Chinese Government of detaining more than a million Uighurs in “re-education camps”, where mass sterilisation of women and forced labour is believed to be carried out.
Last year, shocking drone footage emerged of hundreds of blindfolded and shackled men, believed to be Uighur and other minority groups, being led from a train in what appeared to be a transfer of inmates.
China has continued to deny any such concentration camps in the Xinjiang region.
Former Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming told the BBC: “There is no such concentration camp in Xinjiang.”
Before adding after seeing the video footage: “I do not know where you got this videotape.
“Sometimes you have a transfer of prisoners, in any country.”
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