Nusrat Ghani – 2021 Speech on the Treatment of Uyghur Women

The speech made by Nusrat Ghani, the Conservative MP for Wealden, in the House of Commons on 4 February 2021.

I thank the Minister for his powerful statement. Yesterday, the BBC broadcast harrowing footage of Chinese state-orchestrated abuse against Uyghur women on an unprecedented scale.

“They had an electric stick, I didn’t know what it was, and it was pushed inside my genital tract, torturing me with an electric shock.”

That is the testimony of Tursunay Ziawudun. “They did whatever their evil minds could think of. They were barbarians. I felt I had died. I was dead.” Then there are the gang rapes of Uyghur women by the police in front of other camp detainees, as a form of re-education, seeking out those who look away to punish them even further.

These horrifying stories add to the huge and growing body of evidence detailing atrocities perpetrated by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang—atrocities that may even be genocidal. These horrors have led the Board of Deputies of British Jews to compare the plight of the Uyghurs to the Holocaust. But as everybody in this House knows, there is no prospect of China being held to account through the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice. So I ask the Minister: how will the Government get the court judgment they need to act when all international routes are paralysed by China? We cannot be bystanders to the deliberate attempt to exterminate a group of people. Not again.

Will the Minister make a promise today that no further deepening of ties of any kind will take place with China until a full judicial inquiry has investigated these crimes? Will he commit himself to a meeting with Rahima Mahmut, a Uyghur survivor, who is known by so many in this House? Rahima is a brave woman, risking her safety to save her family and her people. The United Kingdom cannot stand by and do nothing about the extermination of the Uyghur—mass rapes, scalping and forced sterilisations. We can act and we must act.