Europe’s First Shot: Dutch Parliament Characterizes Communist China’s “Genocide” in Xinjiang

The motion was sponsored by the center-left D-66 party MP Scheldemar (pictured), who plans to introduce a separate motion to lobby the International Olympic Committee to prevent Beijing from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Dutch parliament passed a motion Thursday (25) condemning the Chinese Communist Party‘s genocide against the Uighur minority in the country, although the motion does not explicitly hold the Chinese authorities accountable and the resolution itself is not binding. The resolution makes the Netherlands the first European country to characterize the Communist Party’s Xinjiang policy as “genocide” and is expected to encourage other European countries to take similar action.

The motion refers to measures taken by Chinese authorities against Uighurs “with the intention of preventing births” and “establishing punishment camps” in violation of UN Resolution 260A, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Human rights groups and U.N. human rights experts say at least one million Muslims are detained in camps in the remote western region of Xinjiang. Human rights groups and some Western political leaders have accused China of using torture, forced labor and sterilization.

Previously, the Canadian Congress and the U.S. State Department have made similar accusations. The Canadian parliament’s proposal calls on the International Olympic Committee to cancel Beijing’s hosting rights for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands criticized the motion for “disregarding facts and common sense,” deliberately smearing and discrediting the Chinese Communist Party, and grossly interfering in its internal affairs. China “strongly condemns and resolutely opposes” it.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) voted against the resolution. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the government did not want to use the word genocide because it had not been declared by the United Nations or the International Court of Justice.

After the motion passed, Blok told reporters, “The situation of the Uighurs is of great concern.” He added that the Netherlands wanted to cooperate with other countries on the issue.

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a member of parliament from the center-left D-66 political party who moved the motion, plans to file a separate motion to lobby the International Olympic Committee to keep Beijing from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.