A senior Chinese diplomat and Governor of China’s north-western Xinjiang province, Erkin Tuniyaz, cancelled his controversial visit to the United Kingdom after British MPs persuaded the government to bar him from coming to London.
Few MPs participated in a protest outside the Foreign Office and urged his arrest for serious human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in his province. Erkin Tuniyaz, a Chinese Communist Party official, has been accused of violating human rights in Xinjiang province in the past.
A British Foreign Office spokesperson said that Tuniyaz is believed to cancel his visit to the UK. Before his visit, the UK government stated that Tuniyaz was not invited and that if he came to London, he would not be given appointments to meet any British minister.
In 2021, British MPs passed a non-binding House of Commons motion which announced Uyghur Muslims and other minority ethnicities in Xinjiang were “suffering crimes against humanity and genocide”, according to reports.
In a statement, a Foreign Office spokesperson said, “The UK government will continue to use all opportunities to take action against China’s unacceptable human rights abuses in Xinjiang.”
China has been condemned for human rights violations against the Muslim majority in Xinjiang, where several Muslims were transferred to camps due to their ethnicity.
The United Nations has also accused China of “serious human rights violations” and is responsible for unlawful acts against humanity in the Xinjiang province.
Recently, a group of seven British MPs, including former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, wrote to Attorney General Victoria Prentis requesting to give “serious consideration” to an application by a convicted torture sufferer to contest the Xinjiang Governor when he was in the UK.
Sir Iain, held Tuniyaz responsible for the murder, on Monday, as he participated in a protest against the Chinese diplomat’s visit outside the Foreign Office’s King Charles Street headquarters.
Sir Iain told the protesters, “We do not meet with people who murder others. The British government should be above that.” He said, “There is no negotiation until China stops what it is doing and restores the rights, privileges and freedoms for the people of Xinjiang who are Uyghur Muslims.”