Canada has become the second country in the world to describe China’s treatment of its Uighur minority as a genocide, following a contentious parliamentary vote which is likely to further raise diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
Lawmakers approved the non-binding motion, brought forward by opposition Conservatives, to recognize China’s actions in the north-western Xinjiang province as a genocide against Muslim Uighurs.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau and senior members of cabinet did not attend the vote on Monday.
All other Liberal members present voted in favour of the motion, except the foreign affairs minister, Marc Garneau, who abstained on behalf of the government.
By calling the actions in China a genocide, Canada joins the United States, which made the determination shortly before Donald Trump left office.
Over the weekend, China’s ambassador to Canada criticized the vote, telling the Canadian Press that officials in Ottawa should stay out of China’s internal politics.
But last October, a Canadian parliamentary subcommittee determined that China’s treatment of Uighurs constituted a genocide. »