The coalition is calling for sanctions against Chinese officials over Uyghur human rights abuses in Xinjiang

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The Coalition has stepped up its calls for the government to sanction Chinese officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang after the foreign minister refused to meet prominent Uyghur advocates in Canberra.

Senior representatives of the World Uyghur Congress and two survivors from internment camps in Xinjiang has traveled to Australia to pressure the federal government to officially recognize Uyghurs as victims of genocide and help increase international pressure on China.

The president of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa, said that while he appreciated Australia’s work to increase pressure on China in international organizations over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Australia had yet to take any concrete action against officials responsible for torture and oppression of Uighurs. .

He also said he was deeply concerned that Australia would soften its stance on the issue as it sought to rebuild ties with Beijing.

“The Australian Parliament is still silent on this and does not recognize this as genocide,” he said.

“We come here today to strongly demand that the parliament recognize the Uyghur genocide.”

Anthony Albanese and Xi Jinping shake hands in front of Chinese and Australian flags
Anthony Albanese is the first Australian prime minister to hold formal talks with Xi Jinping since 2016.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

The activists told reporters in Canberra they had met Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Shadow Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham, but Penny Wong’s office declined to arrange a meeting with the foreign minister.

Human rights campaigners suggested the government was hesitant to hold the meeting because relations with China were “delicately clear” after the recent meeting between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Why the passivity?”

Red dots indicate the suspected locations of 're-education camps' in Xinjiang province, as mapped by researchers.
Researchers have identified nearly 100 suspected ‘re-education camps’ and detention facilities across Xinjiang.(ABC News)

But Senator Birmingham has taken aim at Senator Wong over the decision, saying it was “disappointing that the Secretary of State refused to meet with the World Uyghur Congress and hear their stories face to face”.

“The opportunity the opposition took to meet with Congress and hear directly the shocking and harrowing experiences of members of the Uyghur community that the Chinese government had in Xinjiang centers was sobering,” he said.

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