UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab denounced “serious and egregious” abuses by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uighur population in China and did not rule out heavy sanctions. The Chinese ambassador responded harshly to the accusations.

Shipments of aesthetic products seized by the United States governments coming from Xinjiang, where supposedly the Uighur concentration camps are located, added to the resurfacing of scandalous videos of Uighurs imprisoned and transported in trains in the best Nazi style of the Holocaust, put the issue of the abuses by the CCP again on the political and media agenda of international relations. 

In Great Britain another controversy and a series of misunderstandings broke out between Raab, and Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming.

In a dialogue with the BBC in London, Raab was very concerned about the latest reports of forced sterilization of Uighurs in China. He said it brought back memories of things that had not been seen in a long time and warned that the UK was working with its allies to take appropriate action.

There are increasing calls for the UK to impose sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans on Party officials responsible for the persecution of Uighurs.

A petition supporting the measure has gathered over 100,000 signatures, which means it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

On sanctions, Raab said the UK was prepared to act unilaterally, as well as through bodies such as the U.N. but that it was not a simple matter and could be done overnight.

“You have to, as we have done with the Rohingya and North Korea, build up an evidence base and that takes a long time to do because you have got to identify accurately and responsibly those involved,” he said.

Conservative MPs are also pushing for action against senior Hong Kong government officials following the imposition of a new national security law, which the UK said violates international agreements protecting freedoms.

The foreign secretary must now update Parliament on the UK’s response, amid speculation that it will eliminate the UK’s existing extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

Liu speaking to a BBC journalist, said that talk of concentration camps in China was absolutely untrue. And he argued that Uighurs receive the same legal treatment as other ethnic groups in China. 

When asked about the videos that seem to show Uighurs blindfolded with shaved heads being taken onto huge trains for transfer, he replied naturally and unimportantly that he was not aware of this and that in any country there are sometimes transfers of prisoners. 

China does not accept the allegations and questions the figures regarding the accusations of alleged ethnic cleansing. The Chinese ambassador said the Uighur population in Xinjiang was 4 million to 5 million 40 years ago and had now grown to 11 million. “People say we have ethnic cleansing, but the population has doubled,” he added. 

The population growth rate in Xinjiang’s two largest Uighur localities fell by more than 80 percent between 2013 and 2018, the report said.

Regarding possible sanctions that the British government will possibly take against the CCP, Liu responded that China could retaliate, as it is doing with the United States.