China slams France's 'deliberate slander'
France’s National Assembly voted 169 to 1 on Thursday to officially recognize “the violence perpetrated by the People's Republic of China against the Uighurs as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide.”
The non-binding resolution, put forward by the opposition Socialists and backed by President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party, calls on the French government to take “necessary measures” to protect Uighurs.
The Chinese embassy in France reacted angrily to the vote, saying the resolution ignores “facts and common sense,” and accused Paris of a campaign to “deliberately slander and smear China.”
“The so-called ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is completely a big lie fabricated based on prejudice and hostility towards China. The purpose is not to protect human rights at all, but to suppress and contain China and undermine Xinjiang's national unity and stable development,” an embassy spokesperson told reporters.
The vote comes two weeks before the Winter Olympics in China, which is facing a diplomatic boycott from multiple governments, including those of the US and UK, although France has not joined it.
The Chinese government has repeatedly and vigorously denied reports of genocide against Uighur Muslims or forced labor camps in the Xinjiang region. However, according to the UN, Beijing has rejected requests from the international body’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit the region to investigate the allegations.