The lower house of France’s parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday that denounced “genocide” by China against its Uyghur population, a minority Muslim group in the Xinjiang region.
The non-binding resolution, proposed by the opposition Socialists but also backed by President Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move party, was adopted almost unanimously just a few days before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
It reads that the National Assembly “officially recognizes the violence perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide.”
It also calls on the French government to undertake “the necessary measures within the international community and in its foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China” to stop Beijing’s actions.
“China is a great power. We love Chinese people. But we refuse to submit to propaganda from a regime that is banking on our cowardice and our avarice to perpetrate a genocide in plain sight,” Socialist party chief Olivier Faure said.
He recounted testimony to parliament from Uyghur survivors who told of conditions inside internment camps where men and women were unable to lie down in cells, subjected to rape and torture, as well as forced organ transplants.
China denies genocide in Xinjiang and has accused Uyghurs testifying overseas about conditions inside Xinjiang of being liars.
Beijing has turned down repeated requests from the UN High Commission for Human Rights to visit the region to investigate.
The United States has slapped sanctions on a growing list of Chinese politicians and companies over the treatment of the Uyghurs, as well as a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics.