Leading Uyghur Canadians Urge Trudeau to Acknowledge ‘Genocide’ in Xinjiang – H Talk Asia

Leaders of Canada’s Uyghur community asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau why his government had not followed the Canadian Parliament in recognizing the situation in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as genocide.

Trudeau met with about 10 community leaders in Montreal Monday to discuss a wide range of Xinjiang-related issues, including the possibility of banning imports of products made through forced labor.

“He said he was aware of it and was looking into it. He said Canada is considering banning forced labor products to Canada,” Keyum Masimov, project director for the Ottawa-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, or URAP, told H Talk Asia’s Uyghur Service on Tuesday.

The organizer of the meeting was lawmaker Sameer Zuberi, who introduced a motion in parliament in June to help Uyghurs flee China’s “ongoing genocide” by banning entry for “10,000 Uyghurs and other vulnerable Turkish Muslims” from 2024 is accelerated.

Parliament approved the measure by a 258-0 vote last month, repeating the February 2021 motion to recognize the situation in Xinjiang as genocide, which passed 266-0.

“We were able to convey to him our concern that we were puzzled by his government’s reluctance to recognize the Uyghur Genocide since every Uyghur Canadian has at least one family member, neighbor or friend who is being held in the concentration camps,” he said Masimov.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Keyum Masimov, project manager of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, at a meeting of Laurier Club members in Montreal, November 7, 2022. Credit: Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project

The meeting between community leaders and Trudeau on Monday was a message to all Uyghurs that the Canadian government is paying close attention to their plight, Mehmet Tohti, URAP’s executive director, told RFA on the sidelines of a conference in the European Parliament.

“This is a strong signal to China,” Tohti said. “This was a great opportunity to convey the concrete concerns of the Uyghurs to the Prime Minister who governs Canada.”

Those concerns included the case of Huseyincan Celil, a Uyghur Canadian serving a life sentence in China on terrorism charges, Tohti said. Authorities in Uzbekistan arrested Celil during a visit there in 2006 and extradited him to China, where he was tried as a Chinese citizen despite having acquired Canadian citizenship, an act which under Chinese law deprives him of Chinese citizenship.

Tohti acknowledged that the Canadian Parliament has four bills pending either directly or indirectly related to Uyghur forced labor and that the Canadian government’s policy framework for China, to be announced later this month, includes the ban on forced labor products contains.

“Most importantly, Canada is aware of the Uyghur situation by taking specific steps to relocate 10,000 Uyghur refugees and assist genocide victims,” ​​Tohti said. “Our hope is that Canada will take bigger and faster steps.”

Translated by Alim Seytoff. Written in English by Eugene Whong.