Photo: Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has joined the call to arrest a governor from a region of China suspected by the UN of crimes against humanity during a possible visit this week.
The Tory backbencher said Xinjiang Governor Erkin Tuniyaz should be arrested when he arrives in the UK. The House of Commons learned this week that he would visit the UK next week and possibly meet officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Tuniyaz is the head of the Xinjiang region, where genocide, crimes against humanity and human rights violations are reported to take place.
He is accused of overseeing large-scale attacks against the Uyghur ethnic group and other Turkic Muslims in the region.
China has denied allegations of human rights violations.
These include mass arbitrary detention, torture, forced labour, sexual violence and forced sterilizations. In August 2022, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said abuses in the province “could amount to crimes against humanity”.
The member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party has been sanctioned by the US government. Ahead of its possible visit, Human Rights Watch urged the UK and the EU to follow suit.
Duncan Smith is one of the authors of a cross-party letter to Attorney General Victoria Prentis asking her to consider pursuing a private prosecution of a Kazakh citizen who said he was “tortured” in Xinjiang.
Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Saturday: “I want the Foreign Office to say, ‘No, we won’t see him when he comes.’ I would like them to punish him.
“There is an attempt to get a private prosecution against him, which has been written to the Attorney General and then has to be approved. I would urge the attorney to think very hard about allowing that private prosecution.
“In which case, if this man lands, he will be detained pending prosecution for crimes against humanity, which China has committed according to the UN.”
He added: “Yes, I want him arrested.”
Duncan Smith accused the State Department of “weasel words” over Tuniyaz’s visit. Foreign Secretary Leo Docherty said in the House of Commons this week that he had not been invited by the government or FCDO.
“The British government, I believe, is going to stage a propaganda coup. It’s about being able to go around the world and say ‘it’s okay, we’re okay, nothing’s happening’.
“The truth is it will be propaganda, that’s what they’re after. They are in the business of using slave labor to manufacture goods that we use in the UK. They have a million people in forced labor camps, they have well documented rapes and the systematic sterilization of women and the little children are now in re-education camps.”
Related: Lawyer asks to prosecute Xinjiang governor in UK
Chingford and Woodford Green MPs referred to the situation not only in Xinjiang, but also in Hong Kong, where a new national security bill has led to a crackdown on the formerly more liberal island, which Britain ruled until 1997. was ruled.
“We need to get a lot tougher on China, to say that if you want to be part of the free market, if you want to be treated as a partner by the rest of the world, you have to live up to the standards. laws and responsibilities that come with it, including full human rights,” he said.