Government indicate that Magnitsky sanctions may be applied against members of the Chinese Communist Party, who they say are behind atrocities against Uighurs and others – Link to BBC Report available until January 31st

Jan 25, 2020 | Uncategorized

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Read this article by Baroness (Sayeda) Warsi

And Tom Tugendhat MP

At the end of last year the UK Government said that it is preparing to activate a new post-Brexit sanctions regime targeting the assets of those responsible for human rights abuses. In a major development this week the Government indicated such sanctions would be applied against members of the Chinese Communist Party, who they say are behind atrocities against Uighurs and others.

Watch this important news report from BBC World (available on line until January 31st)


On Monday of this week I asked the Government about the plight of the Uighurs:

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, has the Minister, in those bilateral talks, challenged the Chinese Government’s campaign about what they call extremism? 

In Xinjiang, extremism is measured by the length of a beard or the desire to pray in a mosque not controlled by the Communist Party. As we have heard, it leads to incarceration, torture and re-education, and to what a United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination recently described Xinjiang as: a “no-right zone.” 

As the noble Lord, Lord Collins, said, should we not be desisting from business as usual with companies such as Huawei, Dahua and Hikvision; that is, funnelling British money into companies which are arms of a communist state responsible for egregious human rights violation, about which I wrote to the Minister on 11 December 2019?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

My Lords, on the point about extremism, that has been a narrative which the Chinese have put forward. We all have challenges of extremism; there are ways and means of dealing with them. While I do not have a beard, I fear I would fall short on the second of those signs of extremism: praying in a non-communist-led mosque. That said, the noble Lord raises important issues. As I said to the noble Lord, Lord Collins, we are looking at introducing a sanctions regime. Our relationship with China is an important one, the strength of which allows us to raise serious human rights concerns, as I said earlier.

And on Thursday I pressed the Government further on what this may mean:

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, on Monday last the Minister, in answer to his noble friend Lady Warsi, gave a welcome response in the context of the Uighur Muslims, 1 million of whom are incarcerated in Xinjiang in western China. He said that sanctions would be examined in that context. Can he give us some idea of when Magnitsky-style powers might be used in those circumstances? Would he consider holding a round-table discussion for Members of your Lordships’ House to talk through with us precisely how and when these very welcome powers will be used?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

My Lords, on the noble Lord’s latter point, I suggest that a suitable time might be once we have finalised the statutory instruments. On the general issue of the Uighurs, I have made my and the Government’s position very clear. As I said, once the designation and scope of the sanctions have been determined, that would be the appropriate time to have any further discussions.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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