The day after a vote in the Belgian Parliament on the Uighurs issue in China, Beijing stepped up to the plate on Wednesday, threatening to deteriorate relations between the two countries.
“We call on Belgium to immediately rectify its mistake,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, told reporters.
China’s response was not long in coming, it comes the day after a vote by a parliamentary committee in Belgium which warns of “a serious risk of genocide” in Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim region where people live. the Uyghur minority.
This vote, which took place at the level of the External Relations Committee, must be generalized in plenary session in the House of Representatives on July 1.
China has become the target of international criticism over the issue of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region, after several NGOs alerted to a worrying human rights situation.
China is accused of sending Uighur Muslims to concentration camps, which Beijing calls rehabilitation or vocational training centers.
More than a million Uighurs are imprisoned there and undergo forced labor, according to figures from NGOs, but they will be much more numerous according to testimonies of survivors.
The NGO Amnesty International qualifies it as “crimes against humanity” what China inflicts on the Uyghurs, but also on the Kazakhs and all the other Muslim minorities. She denounces their imprisonment, their torture, and the persecution they suffer. Some parts speak of ethnic and religious cleansing of Muslim minorities in China.
Belgium has become the 6th country to denounce the ongoing “crimes against humanity” against the Uyghurs, say the deputies, after the Parliaments of Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and the Republic Czech.
On Sunday, the leaders of the G7 countries called on China to “respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the Uyghur minority, and the rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.