Tories in the Canadian House of Commons blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party for abstaining from a parliamentary vote that condemned China for alleged genocide against Muslim Uighurs and other Turkic minorities.
The Commons this week overwhelmingly approved a non-binding motion accusing China of genocide against its Muslim minority populations that mostly live in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China. The motion says Uighurs in China "have been and are being subject to genocide."
Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the vote that saw most lawmakers, including many Liberals that joined, vote in support of the motion.
The motion recognizes "that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims." It also calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, or Beijing 2022, away from China.
The parliamentary vote makes Canada the first country to semi-officially call for China to be stripped of Beijing 2022 over allegations of human rights abuses.
The United States has estimated some two million people from Muslim minorities may have been detained in recent years by the communist Chinese government in mass detention centers in Xinjiang.
Tory leader Erin O'Toole, who led the bid to secure the parliamentary vote, called on the Trudeau government to support the determination. But because it's non-binding, the determination won't become government policy.
"It is shameful that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government continue to refuse to call the horrific conduct by the Chinese Communist Party what it is: a genocide," said O'Toole.
In explaining the Trudeau cabinet's abstentions, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the government believes allegations against China need to first be investigated by international experts.
"The government of Canada takes any allegations of genocide extremely seriously," said Garneau.
"We have the responsibility to work with others in the international community in ensuring that any such allegations are investigated by an independent international body of legal experts.'
On Monday, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang enjoy freedom of religion and labor rights.