“what moral authority will we lose, and what price will the Uighurs pay, if we do not do all in our power, whatever the cost, to confront these dreadful atrocities that are unfolding in front of our eyes?”
In the House of Lords on 25th November 2021 Peers debated a Motion from Lord Alton of Liverpool, “That this House takes note of the reported remarks of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs that a genocide is underway against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, China.”
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for his tireless work in this area. I also share with him a sense of frustration—I feel as if I have stood up so many times as we have engaged with this issue, yet it seems that we are not able to confront it in a way that is really making a difference. Despite all our hopes of human progress, it is quite extraordinary that here we are, at the start of the 21st century, witnessing events such as we see and which are now well documented. There is no doubt that they are going on.
In the House of Lords on 17th December 2020 during exchanges on forced Uighur labour within Xinjiang, China, the Bishop of St Albans asked Government to investigate supply chains in UK local and national public contracts:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the news that forced labour was active in cotton supply chains is not the first example of business connections to Uighur repression.
Previous concerns have also been expressed in relation to Hikvision and its role in the Xinjiang surveillance apparatus. Will the Government commit to a comprehensive review of supply chains in local and national public contracts to ascertain whether public funds have helped to finance this ongoing tragedy?
On 10th December the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on whether Uighur forced labour had been used in production of PPE bought by Government for use in the UK:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether Uighur forced labour was used in the production of personal protective equipment purchased by the UK from Medwell Medical Products; and what plans they have to implement due diligence checks to ensure that items purchased by the UK have not been produced using such forced labour. [HL10106]
On 23rd and 25th November the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on UK contracts with Pyronix-Hikvision and the use of that company’s technology in Uighur detention facilities in China:
On 12th November Baroness Northover asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports that four pro-democracy legislators have been dismissed from the Hong Kong Legislative Council with immediate effect.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a further question:
On 3rd November 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the government of China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 October, and (2) the impact of that election on that Council’s ability to hold the government of China accountable for the human rights situation in that country. [HL9378] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about human rights in China”
On 23rd September 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked Government about the condition of Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang in China, and urged that the International Olympic Committee review China’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The exchanges are below, with the further questions asked by other Members:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the condition of Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang in China.
The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are reports of torture and overcrowding in detention centres in Xinjiang, where over a million Uighurs are extrajudicially detained. We have repeatedly condemned the abuses of human rights perpetrated against the Uighurs in Xinjiang and again call upon China to immediately allow UN observers unfettered access to the region and to end extrajudicial detention. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans: China should not host Winter Olympics because of Uighur treatment”
On Thursday 17th September 2020 Baroness D’Souza asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports of the presence of the Chinese Air Force in Taiwan’s airspace; and what steps they are taking to support the independence of that country.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, this country has recognised the Government in Beijing as the legitimate authority in China since January 1950, with a very distinctive status, as the Minister has acknowledged, for Taiwan, which should be discussed peacefully between the authorities in Taipei and those on the mainland. I am glad to hear about the Minister’s lobbying in connection with the World Health Organization. Would he care to comment on this pattern of marked aggression by the current Chinese Government, which has sought to limit options for people at home and abroad and is so damaging? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about ‘marked aggression’ by Chinese Government on Taiwan”