Canada’s parliament voted to recognize China’s treatment of its Uighur Minority as a genocide. Canadian lawmakers approved a non-binding motion that accuses China of committing genocide against the Muslim minority. Consequently, the move can further strain diplomatic tensions between Canada and China.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet members did not vote on Monday. Other liberal members of the government, excluding the foreign affairs minister, Marc Garneau, voted in favor of the motion. The Prime minister has been trying to maintain a balance between pushing back against China’s hostilities and maintaining good relations with Beijing. For context, relationship between China and Canada has already been quite tense since the arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou in December 2018. As a response, China detained two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Canada said their detention is hostage diplomacy.
Opposition leader, Erin O’Toole, said: “It is shameful that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government continue to refuse to call the horrific conduct by the Chinese Communist Party what it is: a genocide.”
Genocide against Uighur Minority
Canada is the second country after the United States to describe the treatment of Muslim minorities as a genocide. One month ago, then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the world witnessed the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by China.
China’s ambassador to Canada criticized the vote. Cong Peiwu said, “We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to the facts. And it’s like, you know, interfering in our domestic affairs.” She added that “There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all.”
In response, China denies allegations that more than 1 million Uighurs have been detained in camps. The country claims the facilities are vocational and educational training centers. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin urger foreign countries to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. Experts expect the move might escalate tensions between the two countries.