Canadian PM urged to sanction Chinese officials over human rights abuses

Protesters pictured during a rally to show support for Uighurs and their fight for human rights. Image: Lee Jin-man/AP.

DHARAMSALA. 15 July: Canadian MPs and senators have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sanction Chinese officials over human rights abuses.

As many as sixty-four Canadian MPs and four senators have signed a signature campaign organized by a group of pro-democracy Hong Kongers in Canada called the Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) addressed to the prime minister to “levy sanctions on top Chinese officials in response to human rights abuses perpetrated against Uighur Muslims and pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong,” reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The letter also signed by various community leaders along with the MPs and senators “is the latest attempt by some parliamentarians to put pressure on the government to take a tougher stand against China,” the report stated.

Senator Marilou McPhedran and Pierre Dalphond, appointed to the Senate by the Prime Minister were also said to be among the signatories to the letter that calls on Trudeau’s administration to “use Magnitsky Act to target Chinese Communist officials by pushing for some sort of punitive action against the regime in Beijing.”

“There’s no accommodation that you can make with China. Beijing’s violations of human rights should be countered by financial manoeuvres that hit its officials where it hurts,” John McKay, the Canadian Parliamentarian Secretary to the Minister of National Defence was quoted as saying in the report.

Responding on the countermeasures it will prompt from Beijing, the Liberal Mp has said that “I think you have to anticipate blowback. We have our vulnerabilities. But you either start drawing lines in the sand or you just keep getting trampled.”

“I think the sooner that we recognize that we are in a form of asymmetrical conflict, warfare, with the government of China, the more we’re able to strategically deal with it.”

Sergei Magnitsky Act refers to laws providing for governmental sanctions against foreign individuals who have committed human rights abuses or been involved in significant corruption. 

The legislation was first passed by the US under the Obama administration 2012 and later, other countries including the likes of Canada, Russia and the UK followed suit.

Canada has previously employed the legislation to sanction human rights abusers from Russia and Venezuela, preventing them from using the Canadian banking system.

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