The British Parliament is to consider debating if China should face sanctions over its treatment of the Uyghur people after a petition was signed nearly 125,000 times. Under the British system petitions which are signed 10,000 times will receive a response from the Government and petitions which are signed at least 100,000 times will be considered for a formal debate in parliament.

The petition, which can be read in full HERE, asks for “the UK Government to impose sanctions on China for their human rights violations on the Uyghur people”, with an aim of ending the “cultural genocide” of the Uyghur people. The petition say that the Uyghur are “subject to mass detention, mass surveillance, restriction of religious and cultural identities” and “other gross human rights abuses.”

China has been coming under increased pressure over its treatment of ethnic minorities over the past year, with their treatment of the Uyghur population coming under particular scrutiny. A report by the Jamestown Foundation into the treatment of the Uyghur population has said that Chinese attempts to destroy the ethnic group now meet the formal definition of genocide.

The Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, was asked about the treatment of the Uyghur people during a recent interview by Andrew Marr of the BBC. In particular he was asked to explain a video that has been widely distributed on social media. Experts say the video, which shows blindfolded and handcuffed men being put onto trains, is an official recording  that it is likely from Xinjiang in 2018.  The ambassador said that every country has such “prisoner transfers” and denied that the Chinese government was engaging in a program of mass sterilization of ethnic minorities.

In Ireland there is currently a petition asking that we suspend the bilateral arrangements that exist between Hong Kong and Ireland in light of the passing of the National Security Law. The petition, which can be read HERE, says this is necessary to protect the 60,000 ethnic Chinese people who live and work in Ireland.

We’ve asked the Chinese Embassy to comment on the video but have so far received no response.