Procedure : 2019/2945(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0247/2019

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 18/12/2019 - 19

Votes :

PV 19/12/2019 - 6.5
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the situation of the Uyghur in China (China Cables)</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Anna Fotyga, Bert‑Jan Ruissen, Ruža Tomašić, Assita Kanko, Charlie Weimers, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Veronika Vrecionová, Valdemar Tomaševski, Alexandr Vondra</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>

<Depute>Fabio Massimo Castaldo</Depute>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0246/2019


European Parliament resolution on the situation of the Uyghur in China (China Cables)


The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular of 10 March 2011 on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China)[1], and of 4 October 2018 on mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region[2],

 having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2018 on the state of EU-China relations[3],

 having regard to the 37th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue held in Brussels on 1 and 2 April 2019,

 having regard to the EU Statement - Item 4 issued at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council on 18 September 2018 entitled ‘Human rights situation that requires the Council’s attention’,

 having regard to the EU-China Strategic Partnership launched in 2003,

 having regard to the China Cables Telegram and the Integrated Joint Operations Platform’ Daily Essentials Bulletins Nos 2, 9, 14 and 20’,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north west of China is home to around 11 million ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs;

B. whereas on 24 November 2019 leaked secret Chinese government documents dating from 2017 came to light, commonly referred to as the China Cables, which revealed the operations manual for running mass detention camps in Xinjiang and exposed the mechanics of the region’s system of mass surveillance and predictive policing, thus confirming the findings of experts based on satellite imagery, data and eyewitness accounts that were published in recent years;

C. whereas the leaked documents include the operations manual, or ‘telegram’, containing detailed guidelines for managing the camps, and four shorter intelligence briefings, known as ‘bulletins’, providing guidance on the daily use of the Integrated Joint Operation Platform (IJOP), a mass surveillance and predictive policing program that analyses data from Xinjiang; whereas the documents have been verified by linguists and experts, who confirmed they are authentic;

D. whereas the China Cables constitute the first leak of a classified Chinese government document revealing the inner workings of the camps, the severity of conditions behind the fences, and the dehumanising regime regulating inmates’ daily routine;

E. whereas the Chinese Government called the leaked documents ‘pure fabrication and fake news’;

F. whereas the human rights situation in Xinjiang has deteriorated rapidly over recent years, especially since the launch in Xinjiang of the ‘Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism’ in 2014; whereas the Chinese Government’s war on terror in Xinjiang is increasingly turning into a war on religion and ethnicity; whereas repressive measures have been dramatically scaled up since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary Chen Quanguo assumed leadership in Xinjiang in 2016; whereas in the name of combating ‘religious extremism’ and maintaining ‘social stability’, Muslim Uyghur and Kazakh minorities are being arbitrarily held in pre-trial detention centres, prisons and extrajudicial political re-education facilities;

G. whereas credible estimates place the number of detainees who are or have been detained in political re-education facilities at around one million; whereas these re-education facilities are also referred to as ‘vocational training centres’;

H. whereas detainees are reportedly being held in poor conditions, subjected to political indoctrination, including mandatory courses in patriotism, and forced to denounce their ethnic and religious identity;

I. whereas first-hand testimony and credible academic research have indicated that Uyghurs with ties to people abroad and of those with religious beliefs are being intentionally targeted;

J. whereas Uyghurs overseas have been pressured to return to China, often with the support of host states; whereas Chinese embassies abroad have refused to renew many Uyghurs’ passports, leading to uncertainty regarding employment and study; whereas the China Cables documents detail explicit directives to arrest Uyghurs with foreign citizenship and to track down Xinjiang Uyghurs living abroad, some of whom have been deported back to China by authoritarian governments; whereas the documents indicate that Chinese embassies and consulates have been instrumental in this practice;

K. whereas Bulletin No 2 mentions an IJOP list of 1 535 people from Xinjiang ‘who obtained foreign nationality and also applied for Chinese visas’; whereas it determined that 75 were in China, and 12 are EU citizens;

L. whereas some foreign journalists have been pressured into refraining from reporting on sensitive issues such as Uyghur human rights and the use of internment camps, including in some cases through the refusal to renew press credentials;

M. whereas the Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment on 23 September 2014 on the charge of separatism, after being detained in January of the same year; whereas Ilham Tohti has always rejected separatism and violence, and has sought reconciliation based on respect for Uyghur culture; whereas the European Parliament awarded the 2019 Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti;

N. whereas the US Congress recently passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act instructing the Federal Government to protect Uyghurs residing in the USA from Chinese harassment and persecution;

O. whereas in recent years the Chinese Government has devoted enormous financial, human, and technical resources to social control in Xinjiang to ensure ‘comprehensive supervision’ by means of electronic surveillance, the installation of GPS trackers in motor vehicles, the use of facial recognition scanners at checkpoints, and a blood collection campaign by Xinjiang’s police to further expand China’s DNA database; whereas the leaked documents reveal how the system is able to amass vast amounts of private personal data through manual searches without a warrant, facial recognition cameras and other means of identifying potential detainees, flagging hundreds of thousands of citizens for investigation merely for using certain popular mobile phone apps, and uses artificial intelligence to draw up lengthy lists of so-called suspicious persons based on this data;

P. whereas the authorities are closely monitoring people’s family and social networks as indicators of their level of political trustworthiness; whereas the government detains people and subjects them to increased levels of surveillance not only on the basis of their own behaviour or beliefs, but also those of their family members – a form of collective punishment contrary to international human rights law;

Q. whereas the Xinjiang authorities have made foreign ties a punishable offense, targeting people with connections to an official list of 26 sensitive countries; whereas people who have been to these countries, have family members there, or otherwise communicate with people there, have been interrogated, detained, and even tried and imprisoned;

R. whereas the insidious and brutal repression of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang is only one facet of a broader attack on religious freedom throughout China, further reinforced by amendments to the legal framework, such as the 2015 National Security Law, the 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law, the 2017 Cybersecurity Law and the Religious Affairs Regulations Law amended in 2018, thereby tightening the Chinese Government’s control over Xinjiang Uyghur and other ethnic and religious minorities, and establishing broad definitions of national security offences related to terrorism and extremism;

1. Expresses its deepest concern at the system of political re-education camps which has been established in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and at the implementation of a vast range of surveillance measures in the region; is worried at the forced political indoctrination and ill-treatment of detainees in the re-education facilities;

2. Urges the Chinese authorities to immediately close all political re-education camps in Xinjiang, and to free those reportedly detained for their beliefs and cultural practices; calls on the Chinese Government to respect the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, religion and culture;

3. Expresses its deep concern at the State’s implementation of measures to ensure the ‘comprehensive supervision’ of the region through the installation of China’s ‘Skynet’ electronic surveillance system in major urban areas, the installation of GPS trackers in motor vehicles, the use of facial recognition scanners at checkpoints and at train and petrol stations, and the blood collection campaign by Xinjiang’s police force to further expand China’s DNA database;

4. Calls for the EU and the international community to establish an independent investigation mechanism to gather information on arbitrary detentions and other abuses in Xinjiang;

5. Reiterates its call on the Chinese Government to immediately and unconditionally release Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti and all others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression and, pending their release, calls on China to ensure that they have regular, unrestricted access to their families and lawyers of their choice;

6. Calls on the Chinese authorities to allow free, unhindered access for journalists and international observers to Xinjiang province;

7. Underlines that the promotion of human rights and the rule of law must be at the core of the EU’s engagement with China; stresses the importance for the EU and the international community to robustly act to promote full respect for human rights in their relations with China;

8. Welcomes the decision taken by several EU Member States to suspend the return of all ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs or other Turkic Muslims to China, and calls on all other Member States to follow suit; further calls on EU Member States to investigate the Chinese Government’s intimidation of Turkic Muslim diaspora communities in Europe under domestic law where appropriate;

9. Calls on the EU to closely monitor the human rights situation in Xinjiang, and to raise the issue in all relevant meetings with its Chinese counterparts at all levels; calls for the EU to draw up a list of people in China who could face individual targeted sanctions as a result of their complicity in the persecution of Uyghurs, other Chinese ethnic and religious minorities and human rights defenders;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the European External Action Service, the Member States, the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the National People’s Congress.


[1] OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 185.

[2] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0377.

[3] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0343.

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