(a) in the opinion of the House, the People's Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the "Genocide Convention", including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims; and
(b) given that (i) where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with its allies when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, (ii) there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States where it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims and call on the government to officially adopt this position.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
On a warm night in June of 2009, two Uighurs were killed by a Han Chinese mob in Guangdong province. Uighurs are an ethnic Muslim minority in China, making up some 12 million people in a country of 1.4 billion ethnic Han Chinese. These two Uighurs were among the thousands of Uighurs who had migrated from their homes in impoverished western China to the bustling manufacturing plants in the south. This influx of Uighurs created ethnic tensions with the Han majority, which exploded that night.
In response to these two killings, thousands of Uighurs took to the streets in their home province of Xinjiang, some violently. According to reports, several hundred ethnic Han Chinese were killed. In response, Chinese authorities rounded up thousands of Uighurs. Unknown numbers were killed.
Ethnic tensions continued to mount, and after President Xi came to power in 2012, a series of terrorist attacks by Uighurs took place across China. Hundreds of ethnic Han Chinese were killed and wounded. One of these attacks took place in Tiananmen Square, the heart of the Chinese state.
None of this justifies what happened next. According to secret documents obtained by The New York Times, in 2014 President Xi ordered the full force of China's authoritarian state to be unleashed on the Uighurs, as well as on Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslim minorities. He criticized the approach of western democracies in their war on terrorism for putting “human rights above security” and instructed authorities to “show absolutely no mercy”.
Uighurs living abroad suddenly lost contact with family in China. Parents disappeared. Neighbours went missing. Children were told their parents had gone to training school, a school they could not leave. These children were told their behaviour would influence the length of time their parents had to stay at school.
The disappeared have been sent to hundreds of detention camps that were built by the Chinese government as quickly as the COVID-19 hospitals were built in Wuhan last year.
Some estimate that more than two million Chinese Muslims have been detained in these camps. Some experts have called this the greatest mass incarceration of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.
Chinese authorities first denied the existence of these camps, but when presented with satellite evidence, they said they were educational training centres. Just a year ago, authorities said that everyone had been released from these camps, but the evidence says otherwise.
A growing body of evidence, which is based on satellite imagery, survivor testimony, leaked documents, smuggled videos and many other sources, document these atrocities. We can no longer ignore this.
Documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists highlight what is going on in the camps, including indoctrination, torture and forced labour. Women, men and children are being imprisoned with no chance of escape. Women are subject to sexual violence, mass sterilizations and forced abortions. Birth rates for Uighurs dropped 60% in the three-year period beginning in 2015. Last month, China's embassy in Washington celebrated this in a tweet.
Outside the camps, Xinjiang has turned into an open prison for Uighurs. China has combined the power of an authoritarian state with leading-edge technology to create a surveillance system that is beyond Orwellian. Every single Muslim is tracked. Muslims who do not meet the algorithmic standards are flagged for arrest and detention in camps. Any Uighur who does not follow the direction of authorities is flagged for arrest and detention. There is no procedural fairness, just the brute force of an authoritarian state.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere, but these are not just cameras. These are the gateway to a vast information-gathering system that analyzes every single ethnic Uighur's facial bone structure, expressions and behaviours. Every Uighur is tracked, classified and rated.
Reports indicate that in 2017, the Chinese authorities required every one of the 12 million Uighurs to go to their local police station to submit biometric data such as DNA samples, voice imprints and facial scans. Uighurs must also have tracking apps on their smart phones. Everything on the phone is tracked. Anything suspicious leads to arrest and detention in the camps.
Digital bar codes are found on the front doors of many Uighur homes allowing the police to check in through smart phone applications. Uighurs must swipe identity cards multiple times a day just to go about their daily lives, for example while shopping or visiting friends. In essence, Uighurs are not only being persecuted, they are being treated as human guinea pigs in the development of surveillance technology for China's new model of an authoritarian system of governance.
There are an estimated 1,400 technology companies working in Xinjiang province, many working closely with state authorities. One of these companies is Huawei. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Huawei is extensively involved in state security projects in Xinjiang. This is the same Huawei the Liberal government cannot say no to and which it is in a partnership with, with a $5-million grant.
Last December, a report from the Center for Global Policy concluded that more than half a million Uighurs are being forced to pick cotton through a coercive state-run system. This is in a region that produces more than a fifth of the world's cotton.
China is in the process of eliminating an entire religion and culture. Satellite images show that about twenty Islamic religious sites, including mosques, have been destroyed. Uighur children are not allowed to learn their language or culture.
The state is perpetuating a genocide and committing crimes against humanity through its systematic population controls, sexual violence and mass detentions. These constitute elements of a genocide. These crimes have been documented in numerous reports from think tanks, such as the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and from reputable news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and BBC World Service, which was expelled from China just last week for documenting exactly that.
Two consecutive U.S. administrations have concluded a genocide has taken place, as has the Subcommittee on International Human Rights and numerous MPs in this House on both sides of the aisle. Think tanks like the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center have also come to the same conclusion, as has Irwin Cotler, the former Liberal minister of justice.
The genocide convention codifies the crime of genocide. It was the very first human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations in December of 1948. It signified the international community's commitment after the Holocaust to never allow it to happen again.
Canada is a state party to the convention. Article 1 clearly establishes Canada's obligation to prevent genocide, even if it is extraterritorial. Article 4 clearly establishes Canada's obligation to take action to punish genocide, including punishing the perpetrators. These obligations are binding and are the norm of international law.
No one pretends the recognition of a genocide will lead to an immediate stop to that genocide, but it is an essential first step. It is a clear call to the world for action, just as Canada's stand on apartheid was so many decades ago.
The evidence is clear. A genocide is taking place. Canada should not evade its responsibility under the convention simply by avoiding the recognition of a genocide. We must show leadership. We must take a stand. This motion must pass.