Commission Calls on Government to Lead Global Response to China Human Rights Crisis In Major New Report




The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission will launch a major new report on human rights in China at an online event at 19.30 GMT today, with the former Leader of the Conservative Party Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, exiled Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law, Uyghur human rights campaigner Rahima Mahmut, Chinese lawyer and dissident Dr Teng Biao and Simon Cheng, the former British-Consulate employee in Hong Kong who was detained and tortured in mainland China.

The report, titled The Darkness Deepens: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2016-2020, has been endorsed by the former Foreign Secretary and Leader of the Conservative Party Lord Hague of Richmond, former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the last Governor of Hong Kong Lord Patten of Barnes, the Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat MP, Lord Cormack and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP.

Resulting from an extensive inquiry conducted by the Commission last year, the report covers the human rights situation throughout China, including the Uyghurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, violations of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, arbitrary disappearances and detention, forced televised confessions, torture, slave labour, surveillance, abuses of the legal system, the repression of human rights defenders, violations of human rights under COVID-19 and China’s subversion of the United Nations and other multilateral fora and threats to the international rules-based order. It follows a major report in 2016 by the Commission, titled The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016.

Describing the intensifying assault on human rights in China as illustrative of “the mendacity, brutality, inhumanity, insecurity and criminality of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime,” the report calls for “a co-ordinated, comprehensive review of UK-China policy”, including the application of targeted sanctions, initiatives at the United Nations to establish a mechanism to address human right in China, accountability mechanisms to hold the perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes to account, and action to end the use of forced labour in supply chains. The Commission urges the British government “to lead the establishment of an international coalition of democracies to coordinate a global response to the human rights crisis in China.”

Former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague said: “The evidence presented in this report is of a wide range of human rights abuses: torture, arbitrary arrest and forced confessions accompanied by a clampdown on freedom of religion and the incarceration of huge numbers of people in Xinjiang. We should condemn such abuses anywhere in the world, and China cannot be an exception to that. However we conduct our relations with China in the future it is important to have our eyes fully open. This report will help to open them”. 

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Foreign Secretary from 1995-1997, said: “This report on China and the human rights record of Xi Jinping makes sad and disturbing reading but it should be read in every Foreign Ministry around the world.  If only it could also be read by the Chinese people.  They would realise the degree to which millions of their fellow citizens are being persecuted and imprisoned by a cruel Communist Party.”

Lord Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong and a former Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “This deeply researched and exceptionally well informed report gives a terrifying view of the cruelty of Xi Jinping’s brutal regime. To try to preserve its grip on power the Chinese Communist Party has assaulted any sign of dissent and has set about building a totalitarian surveillance state beyond George Orwell’s imaginings. The report demonstrates exactly why we must be on our guard in democracies to protect our freedoms and values.”

Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “This compelling report draws on extensive evidence to audit the human rights situation in China, which has sadly become worse and clearer in recent years. The use of abhorrent practices such as the imprisonment and torture of dissidents, mass surveillance, organ harvesting, and the use of slave labour shows the Chinese Communist Party for what it is. It is clear that the Golden Era is over and the UK, and our allies, need to rethink our relations with China’s dictatorship.”

Lord Cormack said: “This carefully compiled, and thoroughly researched report makes very disturbing reading. It is nothing less than a damning indictment of the treatment of persecuted minorities by a nation which appears to  have ambitions of world domination. I hope it will be carefully and widely read.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP said: “This powerful and well-researched report paints a terrifying picture of the Chinese Communist Party regime’s brutal repression. There have been other reports on specific issues, such as the Uyghurs, Tibet and Hong Kong, but very few that provide such a comprehensive analysis of the litany of human rights violations affecting everyone living under this cruel regime. … This report has unearthed a catalogue of atrocities that demand the urgent attention of and action by the international community. …. The UK Government must lead the free world by sending a clear message that China must stop these abusive behaviours.” 

In her Foreword to the report on behalf of the Commission, Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE, writes: “We hope that this report will serve as a contribution that will further the debate about how we recalibrate our relationship with China, how we hold the Chinese regime to account for its violations of human rights and international agreements, and how we shape a new international order in which values of human rights, the rule of law, international treaty promises as well as freedom and democracy are defended and promoted.”

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