Statement on Reported Interference in the Belgian Parliament

December 15, 2023

We the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China deplore reported interference in the Belgian Parliament by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is alleged that efforts were made by a Belgian politician acting under the influence of the PRC to frustrate a parliamentary initiative to recognise suspected atrocities against Uyghurs and other minorities in China.

In 2020, IPAC members and others started campaigning in their parliaments in support of those suffering human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region. The shared belief was, and remains, that those abuses were serious and widespread enough to warrant international parliamentary attention. It is a matter of grave concern that the PRC appears to have influenced this debate, acting through local politicians, to downplay abuses and attempt to exculpate the PRC.

In the same vein it is reported that efforts were made to discredit our advisor, Dr Adrian Zenz, for his work on Xinjiang – the latest in a long line of attempts by the PRC to subvert free academic inquiry around the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang.

These are completely unacceptable infringements of sovereignty and must be strenuously resisted. Urgent and robust action is needed to safeguard the free conduct of our parliaments, which is for the people who elect us to determine, not Beijing.

We call upon our governments to condemn these actions in solidarity with Belgium, and to set out clearly how they intend collectively to resist brash PRC interference, which is offending our democratic institutions with alarming frequency.

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