Belgian MPs warn of ‘risk of genocide’ of China’s Uyghurs

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Belgian lawmakers on Tuesday put forward a resolution warning of a “serious risk of genocide” against the Uyghur Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang region, adding to Western pressure on Beijing.

The motion was approved by the parliament’s foreign relations committee and will be confirmed by a plenary session on July 1, the MP who authored the resolution Samuel Cogolati told AFP.

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Cogolati, who has himself already been hit by sanctions from Beijing, initially pushed for a tougher statement blaming China for committing the “crime of genocide”.

But the resolution was toned down last week after a debate inside Belgium’s majority coalition of liberals, socialists and greens.

Cogolati still welcomed Tuesday’s approval as “a historic vote, that was unimaginable a month ago”.

Those behind the text said it would make Belgium’s the sixth democratic parliament after Canada, the Netherlands, Britain, Lithuania and the Czech Republic to denounce “crimes against humanity” against the Uyghurs.

G7 leaders on Sunday called on China in a joint statement after their meeting “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang”.

A report from rights group Amnesty International last week accused Beijing of “systematic state-organized mass imprisonment, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity” in the northwestern region.

China denies allegations that it is committing crimes on a vast scale by forcing up to one million Uyghurs and people from other ethnic-Turkic minorities into internment camps in the region of Xinjiang.

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