House of Commons in Canada voted to declare China’s treatment towards its Uyghur minority a genocide. The motion was supported by all opposition parties- which passed by 266-0- and a few of reining Liberal Party’s lawmakers.
The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and few of his fellow members of cabinet refrained.
The motion makes Canada the second country after US to declare China’s actions genocide.
The members of House of Commons also voted to pass an amendment asking Canada to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing “if the Chinese government continues this genocide”.
According to Reuter’s report, China responded to the declaration by condemning Canada’s move. It quoted foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying that China had lodged “stern representations” with Canada.
PM Trudeau has had a rather ambiguous stance over labelling China committing genocide he called the term “extremely loaded” and said further examination was needed before a decision could be made.
Only one member of Trudeau’s cabinet, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, appeared in parliament for the vote. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Garneau said he had abstained “on behalf of the government of Canada”.
Before the vote, opposition leader Erin O’Toole said the move was necessary to send a “clear and unequivocal signal that we will stand up for human rights and the dignity of human rights, even if it means sacrificing some economic opportunity”.
Monday’s non-binding motion marks the latest escalation in Canada-China relations, which have soured over recent years.
China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu had earlier told the Canadian Press that the motion was “interfering in (China’s) domestic affairs”.
“We firmly oppose that because it runs counter to facts. There’s nothing like genocide happening in Xinjiang at all,”Cong Peiwu said.