IPAC Newsletter 23 April 2021

The Australian government stepped in to cancel two Belt and Road Initiative agreements signed between Victoria State and China. IPAC Co-Chair Senator Kimberley Kitching described the agreements as a “debt trap”, with IPAC Co-Chair Senator James Paterson also welcoming the move, as covered by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Read coverage of a resolution led by IPAC Co-Chair Samuel Cogolati MP calling on the Belgian Parliament to recognise Chinese state persecution of Uyghurs as a genocide, link here.

IPAC members Margarete Bause, Michael Brand and Gyde Jensen announced plans to host a hearing on whether the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang constitute genocide. The hearing will take place on the 17th of May in the Bundestag Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee.  

The Independent conducted extended interviews with IPAC members on the formation of IPAC Ireland, with Senator Malcolm Byrne raising the case of detained Irish citizen Richard O’Halloran. Read the full interview here.

The Italian Parliament’s Joint Committees on EU and Foreign Affairs held a series of informal hearings on the EU-China CAI investment deal, with guests including European Commission officials and the Chinese ambassador in Rome.  

The Lithuanian Seimas hosted a hearing on human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, receiving testimony from IPAC members Dovilė Šakalienė MP, Hon. Irwin Cotler and Reinhard Bütikofer MEP. Watch the full proceedings here.

United Kingdom 
The UK parliament unanimously declared the Chinese government is committing a genocide against Uyghurs, in a motion led by IPAC member Nusrat Ghani MP. 

This is the first time a genocide declaration has passed the UK parliament unopposed, drawing support from IPAC Parliamentarians across the globe

The UK parliament joins the US, Canada and the Netherlands in having made the same judgement. Watch the contributions of IPAC members to the debate here.

Earlier in the week IPAC members Baroness Helena Kennedy and Lord David Alton raised the the case of sentenced Hong Kong activists Martin Lee, Margaret Ng and Jimmy Lai, calling for the UK to implement human rights sanctions on officials responsible for the undermining of freedoms in Hong Kong. 

United States 
The Strategic Competition Act of 2021 led by IPAC Co-Chair Senator Bob Menendez passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by 21-1, drawing near unanimous bi-partisan support. The bill, which calls for a comprehensive reassessment of the United States’ policy towards China, will now be considered by the Senate.