The United Kingdom will tighten its trade system in order to avoid the importation of products from Xinjiang (China), British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab announced on Tuesday January 12th. This retaliatory measure is linked to accusations relating to the use of forced labor against the Uyghur Muslim minority in this Chinese region.
Members of minorities detained in internment camps
Speaking to parliament, the British foreign minister said there was far-reaching and “heartbreaking” evidence of the use of forced labor targeting the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang. The United Nations has estimated that at least one million of them, along with members of other minorities, are being held in internment camps.
Dominic Raab cited in support of this decision reports indicating the existence of internment camps, as well as practices of forced labor and sterilization of Uighur women. “We must do more and we will do it”, he declared, denouncing a “barbarism which one hoped relegated to the past”.
“Xinjiang’s position in the international supply chain network means that there is a real risk that companies and public bodies around the world, inadvertently or not, are sourcing from suppliers complicit in the use of labor. forced, “warned the British minister. “This package of measures will ensure that no UK organization, whether public or private, profit or contributes, willfully or inadvertently, to human rights violations targeting Uighurs or other minorities in Xinjiang, ”he added.
At the end of December 2020, the European Union (of which the United Kingdom is no longer a part) concluded a broad agreement in principle on investments with China to give European companies better access to Chinese markets. If the text is criticized, its supporters hope to obtain guarantees from the Chinese regime on the proper respect of human rights. “The dialogue between Europe and China has been strengthened and rebalanced in recent years. It continues”, commented French President Emmanuel Macron on December 30, 2020.
With Reuters (Sarah Young, Elizabeth Piper and Paul Sandle, French version Diana Mandiá, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)
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