China Hits Out at UK for Calling Uyghur Situation a Genocide: 'Disregard of Facts and Common Sense'

China hit back at the U.K. on Friday for passing a motion declaring the Uyghur situation a genocide, calling it a "disregard of facts and common sense."

In a statement released by the Chinese Embassy in London, an embassy spokesperson said, "A handful of British MPs cooked up this motion on Xinjiang in disregard of facts and common sense with a view to discrediting and attacking China. This move gravely violates international law and the basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs. The Chinese side firmly opposes this and expresses its strong condemnation."

The spokesperson continued by saying that "the so-called 'genocide' against Uyghurs in Xinjiang is a flat-out lie which violates international law."

"The unwarranted accusation by a handful of British MPs that there is 'genocide' in Xinjiang is the most preposterous lie of the century, an outrageous insult and affront to the Chinese people, and a gross breach of international law and the basic norms governing international relations," the spokesperson added in the statement.

Newsweek reached out to the Chinese Embassy in London for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

In addition to the statement from the Chinese Embassy in London, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian was also asked by reporters about the U.K.'s recent decision to call the situation a "genocide."

"The accusation that there is genocide in Xinjiang is a monstrous lie fabricated by international anti-China forces. The Chinese government and people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang firmly oppose and strongly condemn this," Zhao said in response. "The UK has enough problems of its own. British lawmakers should manage their own business and do more practical things for their constituents."

The comments from Chinese officials come shortly after the U.K. House of Commons passed a non-binding motion declaring that Uyghurs living in Xinjiang, an area in northwest China, "are suffering crimes against humanity and genocide."

The motion, which was unanimously passed, also called on the U.K. government "to act to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and all relevant instruments of international law to bring it to an end."

Nusrat Ghani, a member of parliament and author of the motion, said in a statement released by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, "Today Parliament has spoken with one voice and called out the Chinese Communist Party's brutal oppression of Uyghurs for what it is: a genocide."

UK Parliament
British Conservative Party MPs Nusrat Ghani (C) and Iain Duncan Smith (R) join members of the Uyghur community as they demonstrate to call on the British parliament to vote to recognise alleged persecution of China's Muslim minority Uyghur people as genocide and crimes against humanity in London on April 22, 2021 Justin Tallis/Getty

Newsweek reached out to Ghani for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The U.K. motion follows similar designations made by the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands.

In January, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that China was committing genocide and crimes against humanity by repressing Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

President Joe Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he agreed with Pompeo's "genocide" designation during a Senate confirmation hearing.

In 2018, China originally disputed accusations from the United Nations that the Asian nation had detained over one million Uyghurs in internment camps. A few months later, Chinese officials acknowledged what they called "a vocational education and training program" for Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.