Sir Iain Duncan Smith joins protest by Uighur activists at FCDO

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Sir Iain Duncan Smith has accused the Chinese governor of Xinjiang of murder as he joined Uighur activists protesting against his reported visit to Britain next week.

Activists gathered outside the Foreign Office (FCDO) after reports emerged that Erkin Tuniyaz, the chairman of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, may travel to the UK next week and meet officials.

China is alleged to have forcibly sterilised women and put children in “concentration camps” in the province.

“There is no negotiation until China stops what it is doing and restores the rights, privileges and freedoms for the people of Xinjiang who are Uighur.”

He added: “We face the reality that there is a strong possibility that the Government may end up in some other location with officials meeting the man who is responsible for what we believe to be a genocide in Xinjiang. That is simply unacceptable.

“It is unacceptable for the Government to pretend that because a minister doesn’t meet him somehow it is unofficial. It is not.”

The protesters stayed outside the FCDO’s headquarters on King Charles Street in Westminster throughout Monday.

There were speeches by activists and Labour peer Helena Kennedy, who co-chairs the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

“I’d love to know who it was who extended the invitation to this man, who is on the United States’ own list of those who must not be given visas, who must not be allowed entry into the United States and is sanctioned by the United States of America,” Baroness Kennedy said.

“Why did we not, despite our urging, have him put on to a sanctions list as well? And why have we allowed him to come here? Who invited him and what is the purpose of those meetings?

“To talk about trade? In his province where there is forced labour? What is the purpose of this meeting?”

Erkin Tuniyaz visit protest
Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Labour peer Helena Kennedy (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In 2021, MPs approved a non-binding Commons motion which declared Uighur Muslims and other minorities are “suffering crimes against humanity and genocide” in Xinjiang.

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