London [UK], March 10 (ANI): Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom Iain Duncan Smith has called for "much tougher action" to combat human rights abuses in China as Beijing continues to impose severe crackdowns on Uyghurs and the citizens of Hong Kong.
According to EU Political Report, Duncan Smith, speaking from the UK on Monday to a zoom conference hosted by EU Today at the Brussels Press Club, said, "In the House of Commons we are engaged in a big effort to link any future trade deals with severe human rights abuses, in this case, genocide, and we are trying to shift the UK government's position on this."
He added, "China is a big problem facing the free world but one that the free world has fudged. This has a lot to do with reality - many businesses have rushed to China to take advantage of a lower cost base in China to produce their goods. This includes the supply of PPE in the health crisis."
Duncan Smith stated that The West has "quietly forgotten" the disadvantages of trade deals with China because there is no balance in these trade deals" pointing out that Germany has a huge dependence on China for its car parts and, remember, to meet carbon neutral status the biggest battery producer is China "so our dependence on China is likely to grow."
The former UK Secretary said that China has "strategically and very cleverly" ensured that much of the free world is dependent on them but "we see the most appalling human rights abuses in China against Christians, Falun Gong who have been brutalised, 500,000 Tibetans in forced labour camps. The worst case is the brutalisation of Uyghurs which amounts to genocide."
He further went on to slam the European Union to "rush the deal" with China saying that the move must have been discussed with the Biden administration and London.
"Uyghurs have been terrorised and separated from their families and are in camps while western businesses still sadly are using products from these labour camps.... No other country would have got away with this but we are so desperate not to upset China. This also includes Hong Kong which is a huge issue for the UK because agreements between the UK and HK been trashed," he said
"The EU has now decided on an economic arrangement with China which has been rushed through. This is a great shame and it should have been discussed first with Joe Biden and the UK because there is a cost to these trade deals," Duncan Smith added.
EU Political Report reported that the Magnitsky sanctions were first applied by the United States in 2016, with similar sanctions applied by the UK in 2020, and is legislation enabling the EU to target people or entities for human rights violations and abuses coming in December of that year.
The sanctions have led to travel bans and asset freezes being imposed on abusers from Russia, North Korea and Saudi Arabia, amongst others. In July 2020 the US sanctioned senior Chinese Communist Party official and Commissar Sun Jinlong for "serious abuses targeting Uyghurs".
Duncan Smith said, "China is a big problem but it also has huge potential and we do want to deal with it but there is a rules-based order and China cannot be allowed to desecrate human rights. We must get China to sign up to this. I hope the EU is listening because we need to change our relationship with China. The European Parliament thankfully seems to be taking a different view on this new trade deal and that is good because this threatening and bullying behaviour of China cannot be tolerated."
On the subject of why it was so hard for some to accept the charge of genocide against China, the UK Member of Parliament said, "The idea that this can be used to describe events in another country must be proven beyond doubt and the evidence must be strong. In the UN, China's allies could also block such a move. This is the basic problem."
"The reason why genocide cannot be found is that it is a huge allegation to make. It is the single worst crime one could imagine. To do it would upset China dramatically and they would retaliate, so the free world is divided on this. The whole thing is a mess."
China has long denied claims of genocide or mistreatment of the Uyghur people, and most recently the country's foreign minister addressed those accusations in a press conference Sunday.
"The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives," Wang Yi said as reported by The Hill, adding that supposed "anti-China forces" were attempting to "undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China's development and growth."
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community,
Meanwhile, China imposed the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong last year. The law criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1. Since then, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested. (ANI)