UK accused China of 'gross, egregious human rights abuses' against Uighurs

20 July 2020, 10:35

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has accused China of "gross, egregious human rights abuses" against the country's Uighur population in the Xinjiang province.

Mr Raab's comments come after drone footage has emerged showing police leading hundreds of blindfolded and shackled men from a train in what is believed to be a transfer of inmates in China's Xinjiang.

The region in northwestern China is home to the Muslim Uighur minority, who make up about eight million of its 19-million population.

The footage purportedly shows dozens of Uyghur men — their heads freshly shaved —blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs during a mass transfer at a train station in the north-west region of China.

The criticism comes amid escalating tensions between China and the UK with Britain potentially set to suspend the extradition treaty with Hong Kong after China imposed a tough new national security law on the territory.

Beijing is already angry with the British Government's decision to exclude Chinese technology giant Huawei from the UK's 5G network.

The chair of the Defence Select Committee also hit out at the Communist country suggesting Britain has "been duped over the last couple of decades" by China.

Drone footage shows hundreds of blindfolded and shackled prisoners in China
Drone footage shows hundreds of blindfolded and shackled prisoners in China. Picture: Twitter

He said: "I really want to see a reset of our entire foreign policy, bearing in mind that we are sliding towards a cold war, we can't do this on our own, we need to work with our allies."

"We turned a blind eye to what was going on with the Uighur population, we turned a blind eye to the uneven trade situation whereby Chinese companies could operate quite liberally within the UK and elsewhere but our companies couldn't operate within China and now I think it's time to say enough is enough."

However, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming denounced Britain for "dancing to the tune" of the US and accused Western countries of trying to foment a "new cold war" with China.

He also rejected the allegations of widespread abuses against the mainly-Muslim Uighur people, accusing "so-called Western intelligence" of making repeated "false allegations" against China.

He suggested video footage, said to be from Xinjiang, showing men, kneeling and blindfolded waiting to be led onto trains by police officers was "fake".