China admits to pressuring UK govt to stop proceedings on Uyghur Tribunal

The UK government has nothing to do with the "people's tribunal".

Kayla Wong | Faris Alfiq | September 14, 2021, 02:27 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

China said it has urged the UK government to stop the organisers of the Uyghur Tribunal from continuing with its proceedings.

The tribunal, which began its hearings on Sep. 10, was established to determine if the Chinese government has committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

China admits to pressuring UK government on Uyghur Tribunal

In a press conference on Sep. 10, held by the Chinese embassy in the UK, along with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang said the Chinese government has "made solemn representations to the British government" about the matter.

"We urge them to take actions to stop the organisers from continuing such malicious behaviour," Zheng said.

In addition, Zheng's reply suggested that the British government had appeared to distance itself from the tribunal, reiterating that it is being run independently.

Zheng said, "We were told by the British government that it is not part of the 'tribunal', that the 'tribunal' is a non-governmental entity, and that the organisation has no legal authority."

He added, "You should not allow these people to continue to spread rumours about China, because when they do so, they are undermining the goodwill and trust between the peoples of our two countries."

Tribunal has no real powers to hold China accountable

According to the Associated Press (AP), the tribunal is made up of lawyers and academics, and has no legal or judicial power, nor the power to punish China or hold the country accountable. It is also not backed by the UK government. 

According to its website, the purpose of the "people's tribunal" was to investigate China’s alleged genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslim populations.

It was set up by distinguished human rights lawyer and barrister Geoffrey Nice at the request of the World Uyghur Congress to investigate "ongoing atrocities and possible genocide" against the Uyghur people, the tribunal said.

China: Tribunal nothing but "a futile attempt"

Zheng further accused the tribunal of being a "political manipulation aimed at discrediting China".

He added that "the so-called evidence is nothing but lies and disinformation".

Multiple witnesses have given their testimonies to the tribunal.

For instance, a former doctor claimed the authorities implemented harsh birth control policies, and a woman said she was forced into an abortion when she was six and a half pregnant, AP reported.

In addition, a former detainee claimed he was tortured every day by Chinese soldiers while he was imprisoned.

"The Chinese government remains unwavering in its determination to implement the relevant policies on Xinjiang," Zheng added as he stood his ground. 

Echoing the Chinese state media, Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Sep. 9 described the process as "nothing but a kangaroo court and a futile attempt".

Calling the tribunal members "clowns", Zhao said that the tribunal "has nothing to do with law, justice or truth, and is just another farce staged to smear and attack Xinjiang".

Several western nations had collectively imposed sanctions on China over its detention of over one million Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang, as United Nations experts have claimed.

They include the European Union, UK, U.S. and Canada.

China had in turn responded with their own sanctions on European officials while denying any allegations of abuse in Xinjiang, and claiming that the camps were for the purpose of "re-education" facilities used to combat terrorism.

There is an ongoing debate on whether China has committed genocide against its Uyghur Muslim population.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image via Uyghur Tribunal/YouTube