China on Friday condemned a French parliament resolution accusing Beijing of committing genocide against its Uighur Muslim population, a move that strained relations two weeks before the Winter Olympics.
The resolution adds to a slew of Westerners who have criticized Beijing for placing nearly 1 million Uighurs in forced labor camps, describing violence against Uighurs by the People’s Republic of China as a crime against humanity and genocide. Has gone.”
The National Assembly of France together with Canada, the Netherlands, Britain and Belgium forms the parliament where MPs have passed similar resolutions. The United States government has formally accused China of genocide in western Xinjiang.
But China dismissed such allegations and on Friday targeted French lawmakers.
“The resolution of the French National Assembly on Xinjiang ignores facts and legal knowledge and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing. “China strongly opposes this.”
The French proposal was proposed in the lower house of parliament by the opposition Socialist, but was also supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party.
The non-binding resolution was adopted by France’s National Assembly with 169 votes in favor and just one vote against Thursday.
It calls on the French government to take “necessary measures within the international community and in its foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China” to protect the minority group in the Xinjiang region.
Socialist Party chief Olivier Faure said, “China is a great power. We love the Chinese people. But we refuse to campaign from a regime that relies on our cowardice and our greed.”
He testified in a parliament of Uighur survivors, who described the conditions inside the detention camps where men and women were unable to lie down in cells, were subjected to rape and torture, as well as forced organ transplants.
The French government has refused to label China’s treatment of the Uighur minority a “genocide”, arguing that it is a legal term that can only be proved with a judicial inquiry.
Beijing has turned down repeated requests by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights to visit the region for investigation.
President Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to avoid being dragged into the escalating confrontational relationship between China and the United States, was asked about Uighurs during an appearance before the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“France raises this very clearly in all our bilateral negotiations (with Beijing),” he said in campaigning for MEP Rafael Glucksmann.
He said he was in favor of an EU regulation that would “ban the importation of goods arising out of forced labour” and supports the growing requirements for European companies operating in China to investigate supply chains.
Human rights groups say they have found evidence of mass detentions, forced labor, political education, torture and forced sterilization in Xinjiang.
Beijing has denied the existence of genocide or forced labor camps in Xinjiang and has accused Uighurs of testifying abroad about conditions inside the northwestern region that they are being falsely paid.
Initially outright denying the existence of the Xinjiang camps, China later defended them as vocational training centers aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism.
The United States has imposed sanctions on a growing list of Chinese politicians and companies over its treatment of Uighurs, leading Beijing to take similar measures.
China has banned European, British and US lawmakers as well as academics studying in Xinjiang and a London law firm.