China is committing genocide against its Muslim Uighur minority, according to a declaration passed by Canada’s House of Commons on February 22. The Globe and Mail noted that the non-binding motion had been approved by a vote of 266-0 with the support of all opposition parties and many members of the ruling Liberal Party.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quoted by The Guardian as saying genocide was an "extremely loaded" term and the evidence against China had not yet been studied sufficiently. Trudeau did not show up for the vote, according to the newspaper, which noted that the government had been represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau who had abstained during the vote.

No call for the boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

The Globe and Mail reported that the motion to recognize the Uighur genocide had been put forth by the Conservatives. The newspaper added that the Bloc Québécois had proposed an amendment asking the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if the genocide did not cease. The Guardian said that amendment had been approved by a vote of 229-29. The Guardian pointed out that the amendment did not call for a boycott of the games.

Denial from China

The Guardian noted that the move by Parliament had been anticipated by the Chinese ambassador to Ottawa, Cong Peiwu, who had been quoted by the Canadian Press as denying that a genocide was taking place in China.

The Globe and Mail also quoted the ambassador as complaining that the motion would amount to interference in China's domestic affairs. According to The Guardian, a few hours after Parliament's action, the Chinese embassy issued a statement criticizing the House of Commons for its "anti-Chinese farce."

The Guardian said Parliament's action would probably heighten tension between China and Canada.

The newspaper recalled that in 2018 Canada, acting on an arrest warrant from the U.S. had detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. The Guardian noted that China had then responded by detaining Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. This action had prompted Canada to complain about Chinese "hostage diplomacy," the paper said.

'Canada has set a precedent

Parliament's action made Canada the second country to label China's treatment of its Uighurs in the northeastern province of Xinjiang as genocide, according to The Guardian. The paper recalled that a few days before President Donald Trump left office, his administration had spoken of genocide in China. The Globe and Mail quoted Uighur Canadian activist Mehmet Tohti as expressing the belief that the action of Canada's Parliament had been the first time in the world for a legislature to declare the plight of Uighurs a genocide.

"Canada has set a precedent," he told the paper.

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