Canada weighs calling China's Uighur treatment a genocide

17 February, 2021
Canada and other countries are thinking about labelling China's treatment of its Uighur minority a good genocide, Primary Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday Feb 16).

This employs Donald Trump's outgoing administration last month said Beijing's incarceration of mostly Muslim minorities in its far western Xinjiang region amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity.

"It's a word that's extremely loaded and is obviously something that we ought to be looking at regarding the Uighurs," Trudeau told a news conference.

"I know the international community is looking very carefully at that and we will be certainly among them, and we'll not hesitate from appearing section of the determinations around these kinds of things."

He said there is "no question" there have been significant human rights abuses reported coming out of Xinjiang.

"We are extremely worried about that and also have highlighted our concerns often. But when it involves the application of the specific term 'genocide,' we simply need to ensure that all of the I's happen to be dotted and the T's are crossed in the techniques before a dedication like that is manufactured," Trudeau added.

Rights groups say in least a single million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims have already been incarcerated in camps found in Xinjiang.

Independent usage of the sensitive area is highly restricted, building reporting and verification of the allegations in close proximity to impossible.

But witnesses and activists say China is wanting to forcibly integrate the Uighurs into the majority Han culture by eradicating Islamic customs, including by forcing Muslims to consume pork and drink alcohol - both forbidden by their faith - while imposing a regime of effective forced labour.

In January, in that case US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: "We are witnessing the systematic try to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state."

His successor, Antony Blinken, has said he agreed with the label, and vowed to remain tough on China.

China has denied wrongdoing and contends that its camps are vocational training centres designed to reduce the allure of Islamic extremism found in the wake of attacks.

Canada-China relations soured in late 2018 more than the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and China's detention of several Canadians - past diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - in what Ottawa provides called retaliation.