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”
On 29th July the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon “Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020”. The Right Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, welcome this new regime of sanctions, but we must of course ensure that targeted sanctions do not become empty gestures. As other noble Lords have indicated, these sanctions will be most effective when they are consistent with other foreign policy priorities and done through co-ordinated, collective action. Without the support of a wider coalition, we risk being isolated diplomatically.
On 22nd July a statement was given about China. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark asked a follow up question.
Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Foreign Secretary is correct about the importance and place of China in the world but China’s human rights record, especially as it concerns Uighurs, has been well known for some time. In the light of the recent US Uighurs human rights act, will Her Majesty’s Government consider similar measures and produce a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps? Given the rising and publicly expressed concern in this country, including by the Board of Deputies, will the Minister now accept that it is high time we took firmer steps to counter Beijing’s harrowing human rights abuses against the Uighurs, and that such abuses should influence negotiations on any future trade deal with China?
On 23rd June the Rt Revd Alan Smith,Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on religious freedom in China.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5718 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that priests in China have been forced to preach Chinese nationalism in return for the opening of religious spaces.
On 17th June Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of their relationship with the government of China; whether they intend to alter that relationship; and if so, how they intend to do so”. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question, focusing on freedom of religion and belief.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, inevitably, trade and defence issues will play an important part in our relationship with China. Will the Minister assure us that issues of freedom of religion or belief will not be overlooked? Estimates suggest that between 900,000 and 1.8 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang province. What plans have the Government made to join our American allies in sanctioning those responsible for the oppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang?
On 4th June 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Anelay of St Johns, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact on human rights in Hong Kong of the national security legislation proposed in the National People’s Congress of China.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
On 6th May 2020 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer on the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL3685 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on 18 April.
On 23rd March 2020 the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, received a written answer to a question on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle:HL2425 To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the government of China’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has not been referenced in relation to their proposals for a new Magnitsky-style sanctions regime.