British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the new measures on Tuesday, which the Foreign Office says are designed to ensure that all UK organizations “are not complicit in or benefit from human rights violations in Xinjiang.”
The British government will also review UK products that can be exported to Xinjiang, and will issue new guidelines that “identify the specific risks faced by companies with links to Xinjiang … and highlight effective due diligence challenges there”.
Beijing has long defended the crackdown in Xinjiang as necessary to counter extremism and terrorism, claiming that its facilities are voluntary “training centers” where people learn professional skills, the Chinese language and laws.
“The evidence of the scale and severity of human rights violations being committed in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims is now far reaching,” Raab told members of parliament. He said that the new measures aim to “send a clear message that these human rights violations are unacceptable, and to protect companies and public bodies in the United Kingdom from any participation or association with them.”
Raab also called on the UN to reach Xinjiang to verify allegations of forced labor and other human rights violations.