National Post (Latest Edition)

CHINA’S ENVOY TO CANADA TELLS MPS TO BUTT OUT.

Says Canada should butt out of internal affairs

- MIKE BLANCHFIEL­D

OTTAWA • China’s envoy to Canada is telling Canadian parliament­arians to butt out of his country’s internal affairs through their pending vote on declaring a genocide against ethnic Muslim uighurs in its Xinjiang province.

Cong Peiwu, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, reiterated his government’s view that there is no mistreatme­nt of uyghurs, labelling accusation­s from the united Nations and others that millions of people in detention camps are being subjected to forced labour and sterilizat­ion as unfounded China bashing.

The Conservati­ves tabled a motion in Parliament this past week calling on Canada to formally declare crimes against uyghur Muslims in China a genocide. That motion may come to a non-binding vote as early as Monday.

“We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to the facts. And it’s like, you know, interferin­g in our domestic affairs,” Cong told The Canadian Press in an interview Saturday. “There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all.”

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa proactivel­y offered the interview on Saturday ahead of the scheduled vote.

Conservati­ve Leader erin O’toole has said the motion and subsequent vote are needed 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.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stopped short of agreeing with American officials, human rights advocates and legal scholars that the violations amount to a genocide, saying the term is a loaded one that has to be used carefully.

“There is no question there have been tremendous human rights abuses coming out of Xinjiang,” Trudeau said earlier this week, adding that use of the word must be “properly justified and demonstrat­ed so as not to weaken the applicatio­n of ‘genocide’ in situations in the past.”

Cong dismissed the widespread allegation­s against China over the treatment of uyghurs and reiterated his government’s view that it has acted to stamp out terrorist activity in the province.

He said the region’s population grew by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2018, a figure he said undercuts accusation­s of forced sterilizat­ion and genocide. He said uyghurs are receiving vocational and language training so they can prosper in Chinese society.

He also disputed allegation­s of religious persecutio­n, saying uyghurs are free to worship in mosques.

“I think we respect your values. but I think our core values should be: respect facts. And to stop spreading disinforma­tion or even rumours,” said Cong.

britain’s Foreign Office minister of state, James Cleverly, told a un Security Council meeting last month that China’s “severe and disproport­ionate measures” against the uyghurs are an example of counterter­rorism measures being used “to justify egregious human rights violations and oppression.”

Cleverly said China has detained 1.8 million people in Xinjiang without trial and is not living up to its obligation­s under internatio­nal human rights law or its Security Council requiremen­t that counter-terrorism measures comply with those obligation­s.

bob rae, Canada’s ambassador to the united Nations, called on the un in November to investigat­e whether China’s persecutio­n of the uighurs constitute­s genocide.

A Canadian parliament­ary subcommitt­ee concluded in an October report that China’s treatment of

there’s nothing like Genocide happening in Xinjiang At All.

uyghurs is a genocide, a finding China rejected as baseless.

Trudeau and his fellow G7 leaders discussed the accusation­s against China over the treatment of its uyghur minority during their virtual summit on Friday.

Trudeau said they had “taken careful note of conclusion­s drawn by experts around the world, including findings of crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Cong also denounced Canada’s leadership of a 58-country internatio­nal declaratio­n against arbitrary detention amid the 800-plus days that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been in prison in China.

Canadian officials took pains not to name China as the target of the declaratio­n, saying it was trying to start a global movement against a coercive practice that several countries are now using that must be stopped through an attempt to internatio­nally shame its practition­ers.

Cong says if Canada really wants to live up to the spirit of that declaratio­n, it should release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who the RCMP arrested on an American extraditio­n warrant. He contends her prosecutio­n is unlawful and her continued detention is also arbitrary.

 ?? JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES ?? Cong Peiwu, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, says Canada is indulging in Chinabashi­ng with its pending vote on declaring a genocide against ethnic Muslim Uyghurs.
JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Cong Peiwu, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, says Canada is indulging in Chinabashi­ng with its pending vote on declaring a genocide against ethnic Muslim Uyghurs.

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