A few days before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the National Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday denouncing the "genocide" of the Uyghurs by China, and asking the government to do the same.
Without binding scope, the text received the support of the deputies of the presidential party LREM and was adopted almost unanimously (169 votes for, one against and five abstentions).
It was defended at the podium by the First Secretary of the PS Olivier Faure who denounced "the relentless machine which aims at the cultural and biological eradication of a people", and also castigated the large Western companies and brands "which continue to use forced labor” of this Turkish-speaking Muslim community in the Chinese province of Xinjiang (northwest).
The genocide committed by China against the Uyghurs is well documented.
Internment, torture, forced sterilization, rape, organ harvesting.
The time has come to recognize and condemn this #GenocideUyghur.@faureolivier pic.twitter.com/cfoiWxI4Xv
— Socialist and related deputies (@socialistesAN) January 20, 2022
The proposal states that the Assembly "officially recognizes the violence perpetrated by the authorities of the People's Republic of China against the Uighurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide", and "condemns" it.
It "invites the French government" to do the same and to adopt "the necessary measures with the international community and in its foreign policy towards the People's Republic of China" to put an end to this situation.
The fate of the Uyghurs “mentioned at the highest level”
On behalf of the government, the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Franck Riester spoke of "systematic violence" and "overwhelming testimonies", but argued that the formal qualification of genocide fell to international bodies, not the government.
He assured that the fate of this community was “mentioned at the highest level” during interviews with Chinese officials.
“On a purely political level, the impact is limited, because it is a parliamentary resolution which has no commitment value.
But it increases the pressure on the executive and the government.
If the executive multiplies high-level public expressions, it is a problem for China, ”commented Antoine Bondaz, of the Foundation for Strategic Research.
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress (WOC), hailed "an indispensable step towards broader international recognition of the Uyghur genocide".
The Chinese Embassy in Paris, on the other hand, protested against "deliberate defamation and stigmatization against China and brutal interference in Chinese internal affairs".
The diplomatic mission believes that these are not "ethnic, religious or human rights" issues, but that the subject is "the fight against terrorism, radicalization and separatism".
Forced sterilizations and abortions, rape, torture, children torn from their parents, organ harvesting, internment and re-education camps, executions, destruction of mosques and cultural heritage, mass surveillance... the text makes a long statement of the crimes blamed on the Chinese regime.
The resolution is also concerned about the fate reserved for other "Turkish minorities" (Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tatars) by Beijing.
“Lugubrious analogy with Nazi propaganda”
Alain David (PS), author of this text which largely takes up a draft resolution by the deputy Frédérique Dumas (Liberties and Territories group), had the deputies applaud the Uyghur refugees present in the stands.
The LFI deputies and the communist Jean-Paul Lecoq abstained.
The only vote against came from the LREM deputy from Paris Buon Tan, very committed to Franco-Asian and particularly Chinese relations.
Human rights organizations accuse China of having locked up more than a million Muslims in political re-education camps.
The Uyghurs are particularly targeted after a series of attacks attributed to Islamists and separatists.
Beijing says the camps are vocational training centers meant to steer them away from radicalization.
An argument which constitutes a "dismal analogy with the Nazi propaganda in Dachau", one of the main concentration camps of Hitler's Germany, protested Vincent Ledoux (Agir group, majority).
The boss of LREM deputies Christophe Castaner denounced the fate of "millions" of people "reduced to a condition of slavery".
The resolution notes that several states have already “formalized their recognition of the Uyghur genocide” by China.
Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the international community not to let China use its Winter Games (4-20 Feb) to distract from its human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
China: Can we dismiss the term "genocide" of the Uyghurs, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon does?
Olympics 2022: US elected officials demand a UN report on Xinjiang before the Games
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