China's treatment of Uyghurs officially recognised as 'genocide' 

French politicians officially recognise China’s treatment of Uyghurs as ‘genocide’

  • France’s parliament passed the motion earlier today with 169 votes to one
  • It seeks to encourage policies aimed at stopped ‘crimes against humanity’
  • The motion was passed just weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing 
  • Several nations have refused to send representatives to the event in protest 
  • Beijing meanwhile has said athletes who demonstrate will be punished 
  • France‘s parliament has passed an opposition-led motion which officially recognised China‘s treatment of Uyghur Muslims as genocide, asking the government to condemn China for ‘crimes against humanity’.

    The non-binding motion, led by the Socialist party and supported by several other opposition parties, was adopted earlier today with 169 votes for and one vote against, and seeks to encourage the government to develop foreign policy aimed at stopping the genocide.

    The motion, passed just weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, also asked the government to protect Uyghur residents in France against any intimidation or harassment by China.

    Activists and U.N. rights experts say at least one million Muslims are being detained in camps in the remote western region of Xinjiang, with activists and some Western politicians accusing China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations.

    It comes as Chinese authorities warned Olympic athletes heading to next month’s Winter Games that they will be ‘punished’ if they stage any form of anti-Beijing protest, while several nations announced a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the event.

    China denies any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

    Deputy director general of Beijing 2022's International Relations Department Yang Shu said Wednesday 'any behaviour against Chinese law or regulations' will be punished (Pictured: An activist holds a placard during a No Beijing 2022 protest. Supporters of Tibet, Hongkong, Uyghurs and Anti-CCP activists gathered outside the BBC Broadcasting House in London to call for the BBC to boycott Beijing 2022 Olympic Games)

    Deputy director general of Beijing 2022’s International Relations Department Yang Shu said Wednesday ‘any behaviour against Chinese law or regulations’ will be punished (Pictured: An activist holds a placard during a No Beijing 2022 protest. Supporters of Tibet, Hongkong, Uyghurs and Anti-CCP activists gathered outside the BBC Broadcasting House in London to call for the BBC to boycott Beijing 2022 Olympic Games)

    It comes as Chinese authorities warned Olympic athletes heading to next month's Winter Games that they will be 'punished' if they stage any form of anti-Beijing protest, while several nations announced a 'diplomatic boycott' of the event (Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at the Shougang Park in Beijing on December 1, 2021)

    It comes as Chinese authorities warned Olympic athletes heading to next month’s Winter Games that they will be ‘punished’ if they stage any form of anti-Beijing protest, while several nations announced a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the event (Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at the Shougang Park in Beijing on December 1, 2021)

    Hongkongers, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, their Jewish allies and supporters hold placards as they demonstrate in Parliament Square against Beijing's hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, in London, United Kingdom on October 24, 2021

    Hongkongers, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, their Jewish allies and supporters hold placards as they demonstrate in Parliament Square against Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, in London, United Kingdom on October 24, 2021

    Following a similar vote in the Dutch parliament in February 2021, the Chinese Embassy in The Hague said any suggestion of a genocide in Xinjiang was an ‘outright lie’ and that the Dutch parliament had ‘deliberately smeared China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs’.

    The Dutch motion passed almost a year ago was the first of its kind in Europe. 

    ‘A genocide on the Uighur minority is occurring in China,’ it said, but stopped short of directly saying that the Chinese government was responsible.

    The author of the motion, lawmaker Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the centre-left D-66 Party, said: ‘Recognising the atrocities that are taking place against the Uyghurs in China for what they are, namely genocide, prevents the world from looking the other way and forces us into action.’

    French President Emmanuel Macron said in December that he did not want to use next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing as a stage for protesting against the treatment of Uyghurs.

    ‘We must not politicise (the Olympics),’ Macron told a press conference. ‘As with all things on the international stage, I prefer to do things that have a useful effect.’

    But several other countries are engaging in a diplomatic boycott of the Games in protest.

    The United States, Australia and Britain are just some of the nations that have said they will not send officials to the Winter Olympics to send China a message over its human rights record.








    In past Olympics, any breach of the Olympic charter by athletes was handled solely by the IOC - not by the country hosting the event (Pictured: A man uses his mobile phone at the spectator area of the Shougang Big Air venue)

    In past Olympics, any breach of the Olympic charter by athletes was handled solely by the IOC – not by the country hosting the event (Pictured: A man uses his mobile phone at the spectator area of the Shougang Big Air venue)

    China has warned Olympic athletes heading to its Winter Games in February that they will be ‘punished’ if they stage any form of anti-Beijing protest.

    The warning shot was fired by Yang Shu, deputy director general of Beijing 2022’s International Relations Department, who was asked to comment on concerns for competitors who speak out about rights issues. 

    It comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was criticised for allowing China to host the Games amid ongoing reports of human rights abuses against minority groups – in particular Uyghur Muslims. 

    China is accused of detaining more than a million Turkic Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region as part of a campaign to wipe out their traditional culture, language and beliefs.








    Appearing at a virtual briefing hosted by China’s embassy in Washington on Wednesday, Mr Shu said: ‘Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected and anything and any behaviour or speeches that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.’ 

    He added that cancellation of accreditation is a potential punishment in line with guidelines in the Organisers’ playbook.

    However, the playbook mainly addresses Covid-19 prevention measures and does not address issues such as speech or protest. 

    And while rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that ‘no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites’, it was relaxed last year to allow for gestures on the field – as long as they are made without disruption and with respect for competitors.