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COALITION AND LABOR ROLL OVER TO CHINA ON UYGHUR GENOCIDE MOTION

15 March 2021

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has expressed disappointment that the Coalition and Labor today blocked a vote on his Senate motion on the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, China.

“It is most regrettable that Coalition and Labor Senators combined to block a vote on a motion that recognises the incontrovertible fact that the Chinese Government is engaged in a campaign against the Uyghur people that constitutes an international crime within the scope of the 1948 Genocide Convention”, Senator Patrick said. 

“This grim reality has been publicly recognised by the United States Administration of President Joe Biden, by the Canadian Parliament and the Parliament of the Netherlands.” 

“I warmly thank the Greens, Senators Lambie and Griff who voted in support of the Senate holding a ballot on the motion. However the Chinese Communist Party will do doubt regard the stance taken by the Coalition and Labor as a victory in that the Australian Parliament has again decided to self-censor on the subject of human rights in China.” 

“While a number of Coalition and Labor members have self-styled themselves as ‘wolverines’ on the issue of China, today they have proved to be all huff and puff and nothing more when it came to calling out what is an immense crime against humanity.” 

“Remarkably the Coalition and Labor couldn’t bring themselves to allow a vote on a motion which called on the Chinese Government to immediately end torture and abuse in detention centres; abolish its system of mass internment camps, house arrest and forced labour; cease all coercive population control measures; and end the persecution of Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities in in China.” 

“The authorities in Beijing will no doubt take this craven performance as evidence that their trade coercion tactics will eventually deliver what they want, a browbeaten Australia that will pull its punches and won’t say a bad word about the Communist Party’s gross abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” 

“But sooner or later Australia will have to stand up, not only for the defence of human rights in China and Hong Kong, but also for our own democratic freedoms and sovereignty.” 

The text of Senator Patrick’s proposed motion is below. 

Senator Patrick: To move—

That the Senate—

(a)     notes:

(i)        the finding of the United States Government on 19 January 2021 that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has committed and continues to commit genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang,

(ii)        that official determination continues under the new United States Administration of President Joe Biden, and

(iii)       the bipartisan judgment adopted by the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament on 22 February 2021 that the PRC has engaged in actions consistent with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the ‘Genocide Convention’; and

(iv) the resolution adopted by the Parliament of the Netherlands on 25 February 2021 that expressed the judgment that a genocide on the Uyghur minority is occurring in China; and

(b)     agrees that the PRC’s treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang constitutes the crime of genocide; and

(c)     calls on the PRC to immediately end torture and abuse in detention centres; abolish its system of mass internment camps, house arrest and forced labour; cease all coercive population control measures; and end the persecution of Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China.