China’s treatment of the minority Uyghur Muslims would hereon be considered “genocide” by France’s parliament after a non-binding resolution on the matter, backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, passed with an overwhelming majority on Thursday.
The resolution that comes mere weeks before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, had 169 votes in favor with one against only. According to France24, the notion was proposed by the opposition Socialists in the lower house of parliament but was also supported by President Macron. The vote against the motion came from a member of Macron’s party, the La République En Marche (LREM). Buon Tan, who has been the chairman of the Franco-Chinese “friendship group” was the only one who resisted the call against China.
According to the resolution, the French National Assembly would officially recognize “the violence perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide”.
The resolution also enjoined the French government to take required measures towards China under its foreign policy and in the global community to safeguard Uyghurs in the Asian power.
On the occasion, Socialist party leader Olivier Faure said that China was a “great power” and that they loved “Chinese people” but would not stand by a state that fostered a “genocide in plain sight” and was strengthened by their silence on the matter.
The French lawmakers present were also invited to acknowledge with a round of applause the Uyghur refugees, who were observing the parliamentary session on site. In the session, Faure also recalled survivor testimonies, which detailed harrowing conditions in internment camps including rape, torture, and forced organ transplants. The testimonies had also revealed that the camp’s detainees did not have appropriate sleeping arrangements in the cells.
France isn’t the only country west of China that has denounced reports of Uyghur mistreatment.
Britain too had a similar stance in April last year, which drew Beijing’s ire. The Netherlands and Canadian parliaments also called the ongoing mistreatment “genocide” in February last year. Former US president Donald Trump also did the same.
Meanwhile, US, Britain, Australia and Canada had all declared that they would boycott the upcoming Olympics in a move that would record their diplomatic grievance with Beijing.
Although human rights groups have repeatedly claimed that there was evidence of detention camps in China, which harboured grave torture techniques like forced sterilization of Uyghurs, Beijing has denied any ill treatment on its part.
France 24 also reported that while Beijing initially rejected claims that the camps existed, it later labelled them vocational training centers that were targeted at diminishing the lure of Islamic extremism. China has also repeatedly refused the calls by the United Nations (UN) High Commission for Human Rights to visit and investigate the matter.