Speaking in a debate on the Chinese Government’s use of Uyghur slave labour in Xinjiang province, James Sunderland asks the Minister about the Chinese Government’s reaction when confronted with the evidence.
Given that the FCDO routinely engages with its Chinese counterparts, may I please ask the Minister what its reaction is when confronted with the evidence and whether diplomacy with China has any effect at all?
I can assure my hon. Friend that China does care deeply about its international reputation. We have seen China change its narrative in response to international pressure. One example is that it has moved from outright denial of the existence of these camps to claiming that they are vocational education centres. Its vigorous protest against our multilateral activity suggests that it cares a great deal about the action that we are taking, so I disagree with those who say that our diplomacy has no effect. Of course, the situation in Xinjiang remains deeply concerning, but that is a reason to doubly intensify our diplomatic efforts and not to abandon them.