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Steerpike

Will China hawks match words with deeds?

Will China hawks match words with deeds?
Photo by JACOB KING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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In the Tory leadership race both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have been keen to talk tough on China. Truss has pledged a 'crack down' on Tiktok and announced a 'New Commonwealth Deal' to unite nations against Beijing. Sunak wants a 'new Nato-style alliance', an end to Confucius Institutes at UK universities and has dubbed the country the 'biggest-long-term threat to the world’s economic and national security.'

Such tough talk has given heart to campaigners, who want China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of the country to be officially classed as 'genocide.' To date, the Foreign Office, under Truss, has refused to countenance this, by acknowledging Beijing's actions by there but referencing the existing policy of having genocide determined by a competent court. This is despite the obvious fact that no court is able to make such a determination in present circumstances.

The independent Uyghur Tribunal of experts concluded in December last year that 'the PRC, by the imposition of measures to prevent births intended to destroy a significant part of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang [and] as such has committed genocide.' This judgement was debated in the House of Commons the following month, with the unanimous resolution of MPs being that the 'judgement in London found beyond reasonable doubt that the People's Republic of China was responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and torture in the Uyghur region.'

Now, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the Tribunal Chair has written to both candidates, urging them to act on his Tribunal's judgement and say 'publicly that you – and any government you may lead –  will accept that genocide has been proved to have been committed by the PRC against the Uyghurs?' He told Mr S:

Prime Minister Johnson and Foreign Secretary Truss have not, to date, made fulsome acknowledgements of their acceptance of genocide having been committed by the PRC against the Uyghurs. I hope the coming Prime Minister will now indicate without doubt whether they accept the finding of the Uyghur Tribunal about genocide, something unanimously accepted as early as January this year by our sovereign parliament.

Uyghur campaigner Rahima Mahmut said:

How much longer must our women be sterilised, people detained, and forced to work while the UK finds reasons not to help us? The new Prime Minister must recognise that we have been subjected to genocide, and tell us how they are going to try to ease our suffering.

Over to you, Rishi and Liz...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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