On February 22, Canadian lawmakers voted in a motion that recognized China’s treatment of Uighur people as a genocide.
The Conservative motion passed with a 266 vote to zero in the House of Commons with the Liberal cabinet abstaining from the vote.
An amendment to the motion, which calls on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games out of China if the genocide continues also passed with 229 to 29 votes. The amendment was proposed by Bloc Quebecois MP, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe.
The region of Xinjiang in China has been widely condemned for its treatment of the ethnic Muslim Uighur population.
The Associated Press reported last week that Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole made the call, saying that “a signal must be sent to the Chinese regime”.
“On a matter like genocide, Canada needs to send a clear and unequivocal signal that we will stand up for human rights and the dignity of human rights, even if it means sacrificing some economic opportunity,” O’Toole stated, adding that “our values are not for sale”.
O’Toole took to Twitter last week on the issue, writing: “We cannot remain silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims. Today we’re calling on the Trudeau government to recognize the Uyghur genocide.” He also included his official statement to Prime Minister Trudeau.
Trudeau has not stated that the act is a genocide. In fact, he said the term is a “loaded word” that must be used with caution.
“When it comes to the application of the very specific word genocide, we simply need to ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before a determination like that is made,” Trudeau said.
Taking a different stance, O’Toole said, “Canada may be a small country in terms of population, but we are a towering giant when it comes to our commitment to human rights. And right now, over a million people half a world away need us to use that voice.”
Researchers and rights groups concluded that approximately one million or more Uighur people have been rounded up in prisons and indoctrination camps in China since 2016.
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