Britain has expressed ‘grave concerns’ about China’s policies towards Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of the country.
Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad told the United Nations human rights council on Friday that the world body needed “unfettered access” to Xinjiang.
Lord Ahmad, who is Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, noted the “compelling evidence of systemic human rights violations in Xinjiang”.
The minister also expressed UK concerns about the situation in Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a controversial security law on the ex-British colony.
Lord Ahmad said: “Of grave concern, in Xinjiang, there is compelling evidence, including from the Chinese authorities’ own documents, of systematic human rights violations.
“Culture and religion are severely restricted, and we have seen credible reports of forced labour and forced birth control.
“Staggeringly, up to 1.8 million people have been detained without trial.
“Across the country, we also remain seriously concerned about the pressure on media freedom.
“We call on China to uphold the rights and freedoms in the joint declaration, to respect the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary, allow unfettered access to Xinjiang and to release all those who are arbitrarily detained.”
He added: “In Hong Kong, Beijing’s imposition of the national security law is a serious breach of the legally binding Sino-British joint declaration.
“It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and directly threatens rights and freedoms.
“The national security law is being implemented with the apparent intention to eliminate dissent.
“It allows prosecution of certain cases in mainland China, a jurisdiction where defendants are often held for long periods without charge or access to legal counsel, and where we have concerns about judicial independence, due process, and reports of torture.”