UK double standards on human rights

By Wu Chaolan (People's Daily Online) 10:10, August 31, 2021

Passengers walk at St. Pancras International Station in London, Britain, July 29, 2021. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

The 53rd Press Conference by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related issues was held in Beijing on August 30, with nearly 50 representatives attending the conference. Three Uygur scholars shared their opinion about the United Kingdom’s double standards on Xinjiang-related issues, including the accusations of so-called “forced labor, genocide, racism, and social inequality”. Scholars have enumerated numerous irrefutable pieces of evidence on the UK’s own violations of human rights, which discloses the bloody British history of colonialism and racialism. “It’s ridiculous that the United Kingdom, a country that committed towering crimes in human history, has touted itself as a ‘lecturer on human rights’,” said Xu Guixiang, a spokesperson from the Information Office of the People’s Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


Along with other countries, the UK has attempted to concoct some of the biggest lies of the century by hurling the so-called “Xinjiang genocide” falsehood, but the truth is that “the United Kingdom has committed numerous genocides around the world in its shameful history of colonialism,” said Mahmut Abduwali, an Associate Professor at the Institute of History with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. Since 1803, when the UK began its colonization of Tasmania, British settlers committed brutal crimes against the native population, such as depriving them of food and killing able-bodied men, which led to the widespread genocide of aboriginal Tasmanians. In 1876, the last survivor of these aboriginal Tasmanians was killed. The UK also engaged in the brutal killing of the Māori people in New Zealand, the crushing of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, not to mention its holocaust in India. “There is no position for the United Kingdom to talk about human rights and point fingers at China’s Xinjiang issues,” said Abduwali.

Forced Labor

The UK has continued to falsely accuse Xinjiang of so-called “forced labor” and has encouraged unreasonable sanctions against relevant enterprises in Xinjiang, but the UK itself in fact is actually the country guilty of rampant forced labor. From 1700 to the 1820s, the British slave traders sold more than 3 million black slaves, with the figure ranking first among all European colonial powers at that time. Most black slaves were sold to the British colonies and forced to do heavy work under adverse working conditions. Statistics show that the average lifespan of black slaves during that period was only 29 years old.

The “gene” of forced labor that is inseparable from UK history was passed on to the country in its current form in the 21st century. In 2015, more than 3,000 individuals were enslaved in British cannabis factories. According to the Centre for Social Justice, a British think tank dedicated to advocating for the rights and interests of disadvantaged groups in the UK, there are at least 100,000 potential victims of “modern slavery” in the country at present and the actual figure may be even higher. A news report from The Sun revealed that the country had 136,000 domestic slaves in 2019.


For years, the UK has disseminated malicious lies that China has “persecutes Muslims” in Xinjiang, without providing any conclusive evidence. However, discrimination against Muslims is widespread in the UK. According to the Guardian, the number of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse increased by 26 percent in 2017, with 1,201 verified reports submitted. Experts put the rise down to the growth of the far right, as well as a large number of “trigger” incidents. “Islamophobia has intensified in the United Kingdom, and it is common for Muslims to suffer discrimination as their basic political, economic, cultural, and social rights are difficult to protect,” said Ramila Shawkat, an Associate Professor at the School of Marxism in Xinjiang University.


The UK has bragged about itself being a democratic country, emphasizing racial harmony and mutual respect, but the fact is that racial discrimination, violence, and harassment against ethnic minorities are ingrained phenomena inherent to the country – both past and present. According to the Lancet, an international medical journal, minorities in the UK have faced a greater risk of infection and death than their white counterparts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The death rate among British-Africans and British-Pakistanis from coronavirus in hospitals in England has been more than 2.5 times that of the white British population, according to a stark analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. “Racial discrimination in the United Kingdom not only lasts for a long time but also sprawls to every corner of British society,” said Elijah Anayat, a spokesperson from the Information Office of the People’s Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Vulnerable Groups

The UK has relentlessly forged the groundless accusation that China “abused” women and children in Xinjiang while ignoring the inhuman treatment toward the vulnerable groups within its own country. The rights of women, children, and the elderly have been severely violated. The UCL analyzed data from nearly 3,000 UK women that showed one in five women in the country had, on average, been subjected to some form of gender discrimination. A YouGov poll in May 2020 commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found that 2.4 million children in the UK were living in food-insecure households. By October last year, an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals. A considerable number of UK elderly people live in dire straits. More than 700,000 elderly people are subjected to abuse in their own homes or privately run nursing homes, according to the report. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Liang Jun)


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