The Chinese embassy in London has condemned the British parliament for passing a motion declaring that Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region “are suffering crimes against humanity and genocide” . In a long statement in response to Thursday’s vote, the embassy accused “a handful of British MPs” of “cooking up this motion on Xinjiang in disregard of facts and common sense with a view to discrediting and attacking China”. “China strongly opposes the UK’s blatant interference in China’s internal affairs. China remains unwavering in its determination to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests,” the embassy statement said. “Xinjiang-related issues are in nature counter-violent terrorism, deradicalisation and anti-separatism, and they bear on China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security.” In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also criticised the vote, saying the accusations were lies manufactured by anti-China forces and told the British MPs to mind their own business. While the vote was non-binding and does not shift Britain’s official stance on the situation, it is likely to ratchet up pressure on Boris Johnson’s government to toughen its policy on China, in particular on Xinjiang. The British government did not support the vote, but voiced strong concerns about the situation in Xinjiang, where it is alleged that one million mainly Muslim Uygurs have been interned in re-education centres and subjected to indoctrination, torture and forced labour – charges strongly denied by Beijing. Britain’s minister for Asia, Nigel Adams, told MPs before the vote that the “genocide” label should be a matter for the courts. “A finding of genocide requires proof that relevant acts were carried out with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Proving such intent to the required legal standard can be incredibly difficult to achieve in practice,” Adams said. However, Nusrat Ghani – one of seven MPs sanctioned in March by Beijing , in response to Britain’s sanctioning of four Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang – said that as a UN Security Council member, China had veto power over the international courts that would make such a call. “This now must be brought before an international court. Sadly, all routes to a court are blocked by China,” Ghani said. Europe ‘doesn’t want new cold war between China and US’ “At the United Nations it is impossible to get through to the International Court of Justice, it is impossible to get through to the International Criminal Court as China is not a signatory to that and therefore will not obey that,” added Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader and another sanctioned MP. The embassy said that a finding of genocide must “result from the application of authoritative, stern and inflexible procedural rules. It must survive a strict scrutiny of the facts and withstand the test of time.” “It is a fact that there is no ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang and China has never committed the so-called ‘crimes against humanity’. The ‘genocide’ smear campaign against Xinjiang is sheer political manipulation in the name of human rights,” the statement read. However, China has yet to permit independent international inspections of the situation in Xinjiang, despite repeated requests from the West. In February, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called for UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet to be given “urgent and unfettered access” to Xinjiang to examine what he described as “industrial scale” human rights violations. There are five tenets to Article II of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, any of which must be proved to have taken place with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” to meet criteria of genocide. These are: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. During Thursday’s debate, a procession of MPs cited research papers, Chinese government documents and media reports as evidence that genocide is taking place. A paper by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy published in March, which “concluded that China bears state responsibility for committing genocide against the Uygurs” , was frequently cited by MPs. The Chinese government has dismissed the allegations, describing the alleged detention camps as vocational centres and said its policies in Xinjiang were designed to develop the region. “We urge the UK side to recognise the development of Xinjiang, have a right understanding on Xinjiang-related issues, take concrete measures to respect China’s core interests and major concerns and immediately right its wrong moves,” the Chinese embassy said. Xi Jinping rebukes nations who ‘arrogantly instruct others and interfere’ The affair marks the latest effort by British lawmakers to aggressively shift the country’s policy on China. In February, backbenchers failed in an effort to add a “genocide amendment” to British trade law that would prevent the government from reaching trade deals with countries convicted of the crime. Earlier this month, 100 lawmakers signed a letter calling for further sanctions on China in response to Beijing’s own retaliation to March’s penalties.