The Lithuanian parliament has adopted a resolution condemning “crimes against humanity” and “the Uighur genocide” in China. Beijing's embassy has responded by calling the document interference in China's domestic affairs.
The resolution, passed on Thursday in a vote of 86 to one with seven abstentions, “strongly condemns China's massive, systematic and grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity”.
It calls on “the United Nations to initiate a legal inquiry into the Uighur genocide in Xinjiang detention camps” and on the European Parliament and the European Commission “to review the EU's cooperation policy with China and formulate a clear position on China's massive, systematic and serious human rights violations, crimes against humanity and the Uyghur genocide”.
The document urges Beijing to “immediately end the illegal practice of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, release all prisoners of conscience in China, including members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, end the Uighur genocide and close re-education camps, and release all detainees and prisoners in detention and forced labor camps”.
It also calls for the revocation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the withdrawal of Chinese forces from the semi-autonomous city, as well as for the lifting of “restrictions on freedom of expression and political rights, and the admission of independent human rights experts to Tibetan territory, and dialogue with the Dalai Lama on preserving Tibetan cultural and religious heritage and restoring of freedom of religion”.
The human rights situation in China has been deteriorating since 2012, according to the resolution.
‘Shoddy political show’
Responding to the parliament's resolution, the Chinese Embassy in Lithuania has said it was just “another shoddy political show based on lies and disinformation”.
“In total disregard of the solemn position of the Chinese side as well as facts about of the great achievement in human rights protection in Xinjiang and other parts of China and the successful measures in keeping Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, some members of Seimas cooked up the resolution against China, which is another shoddy political show based on lies and disinformation,” the embassy said in a press release on Thursday.
According to the embassy, the resolution constitutes “gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.
“This move grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet and domestic policies against cult and any other illegal religious activities and gravely violates the basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side expresses indignation and strong condemnation,” the embassy said.
“The prosperity and stability, ethnic unity and peoples’ happy life in China and stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, China, are by no means to be disturbed or destroyed by western anti-China forces. Concocting so-called human rights issues in China, those forces are engaged in fabricating allegations and charges to demonize China with the aim of destructing peace and stability in China and containing China’s development. These moves are doomed to shameful failure,” according to the press release.
“Those members of Seimas, believing hearsay and distorting facts, arbitrarily smear China and severely undermine China-Lithuania relations”, the embassy said adding that “these are bound to be spurned by the entire Chinese people of all ethnic groups and all parts of China and visionary people upholding justice in Lithuania”.
Human rights groups say at least a million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are being held in so-called ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang.
Observers say the facilities are part of a government campaign to forcibly assimilate ethnic minorities, sometimes using torture and forced labour. Mass rapes and the forced sterilisation of women are also alleged to have taken place in the camps.
China initially denied the existence of the camps, but it now describes them as vocational education and training centres aimed at countering Muslim radicalism and separatist tendencies.
In April, Beijing's embassy in Vilnius condemned a human rights discussion hosted by the Lithuanian parliament as “an anti-China farce” and meddling “in China's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights’.
“Today, with improved people's livelihood and social harmony and stability, Xinjiang is at the best of human rights that it has ever been,” it said in a statement.