China on Tuesday headed off a call for an international investigation of its human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims by demanding a U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHCR) investigation of Canada for allegedly abusing its indigenous population.
China’s mission to the UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland, jumped in with its demand literally minutes before Canada was scheduled to call for the investigation of Xinjiang province, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has herded millions of oppressed Uyghurs into concentration camps, subjected them to political indoctrination and forced sterilization, and used them as slave labor.
The Canadian statement to UNHCR also cited China’s authoritarian crackdown in Hong Kong and its oppression of Tibet. Most of the free world’s major powers, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia, signed it as well.
Before Canada could deliver that statement, China and several other tyrannical regimes — including Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Syria — expressed “deep concern” about the recent discovery of some 215 children’s remains at the former site of a boarding school in British Columbia.
Chinese minister Jiang Duan read the complaint against Canada at the UNHCR meeting:
We are deeply concerned about serious human rights violations against the indigenous people in Canada. Historically, Canada robbed the indigenous people of their land, killed them, and eradicated their culture. The entire world was shocked to learn recent discovery of the remains of over 200 indigenous children at a Canadian boarding school. Between the 1830s and 1990s, over 150,000 indigenous children in Canada were reported to have been forcibly taken away from their parents and sent to boarding schools. They were subjected to malnutrition, and many fell victims to abuse and rape.
At least 4,000 children died of disease, neglect, accidents or abuse while at school. We call for a thorough and impartial investigation into all cases where crimes were committed against the indigenous people, especially children, so as to bring those responsible to justice, and offer full remedy to victims
We are also deeply concerned over the illegal killings of civilians by Canadian overseas military servicemen and systemic racial discrimination, xenophobia, and Islamophobia within Canada. We urge Canada to immediately stop violations of human rights, and call on the Human Rights Council, the OHCHR and relevant Special Procedures, to keep following the human rights issues in Canada.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia was opened in 1890 and shut down in 1978. A Canadian commission in 2015 published a “truth and reconciliation” report on the residential schools, which were essentially mandatory indoctrination centers for indigenous youth, condemning them as instruments “cultural genocide” and mourning the deaths of some 4,000 students. The Canadian government has paid over $1.6 billion in compensation to survivors of the schools.
China has paid nothing to the estimated 3 million people who have endured its concentration camps, instead applauding the camps as “vocational training centers.”
Prior to the discovery, the Kamloops school had 51 documented deaths. Canada’s indigenous tribes have called for radar searches of other former residential schools to determine if they also harbor undocumented mass graves.
Present-day Canadians were shocked and horrified by the discovery, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said the Kamloops discovery “breaks my heart.”
Trudeau claimed that Canada’s residential schools might have had some functional similarities to China’s hideous Xinjiang concentration camps, but the Canadian schools were shut down decades ago and the modern Canadian government acknowledges their horrors — unlike the tyranny in Beijing, which is brutally oppressing Uyghurs and other minorities today while refusing to admit its atrocities.
“In Canada, we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Where’s China’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission?” an exasperated Trudeau asked Tuesday.
“China is not recognizing there is even a problem. That is a pretty fundamental difference. That is why Canadians and people around the world are speaking up for people like the Uyghurs who find themselves voiceless, faced with a government that will not recognize what is happening to them,” he said.
Canada proceeded to deliver its statement on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet. It called on China to allow “immediate, meaningful, and unfettered access” to independent human rights observers.
China’s UNHCR stunt was in line with its aggressive efforts to deflect human rights criticism by arguing Western nations are guilty of their own historical offenses and therefore lack the moral standing to criticize China.
It was also a sign of deteriorating relations between Canada and China, a downward spiral that began in earnest in late 2018 when Canada arrested Huawei executive and communist royalty Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the United States on fraud and sanctions violation charges. Beijing responded by taking several Canadian citizens hostage.