GB News: Liz Truss dubbed ‘Thatcher 2.0' by associate
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Mr Raab stopped short of describing China’s persecution of the Uighur Muslims as genocide when he was Foreign Secretary, insisting the international community had to be “careful” before making such claims. But Ms Truss has a far more robust approach than both Mr Raab and Boris Johnson when he held the role.
The top British diplomat let her views be known in a meeting with Caroline Wilson, the UK ambassador to China.
When Ms Wilson was appointed in October last year she discussed Britain’s relationship with Beijing in a meeting with Truss in her role as international trade secretary.
According to an ally of Ms Truss, Ms Wilson ended their discussion by asking why the UK couldn’t treat China “like we treat the French”.
The source also revealed Ms Truss said: “Because the French aren’t committing genocide.”
The meeting then ended abruptly, the source told The Times. The exchange has been corroborated by a second source close to the Foreign Secretary.
Ms Truss is said to be “personally appalled” by Beijing’s persecution of the Uighurs, which included reports of forced sterilisation and slave labour in Xinjiang, the northwest province.
Further reports suggest that thousands of Uyghur Muslims are being slaughtered as part of the Chinese organ transplant market, feeding body parts to Chinese and Saudi patients for cash.
China denies the allegation.
Ministers and diplomats around the world are cautious about accusing regimes of genocide in public.
The legal threshold for the International Criminal Court by a regime is very high and proving beyond a reasonable doubt is extremely difficult.
The international court defines genocide as a deliberate attempt to destroy a race based on ethnicity or religion.
The Foreign Office declined to comment on “private meetings”.
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A statement did however mention: “The Government has led international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations in Xinjiang at the UN.
“It is the long-standing policy of the Government that the determination of whether genocide has taken place should be made by a competent court with the jurisdiction to try such cases, rather than by the government or a non-judicial body.”
Before being appointed Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss said Britain must not become “strategically dependent” on China.
Britain has remained cautious of Beijing following Chinese firm Huawei seeking to install the UK’s 5G network, which some say could be used by China to spy on Britain.
A Government source said of Ms Truss: “She’s a China hawk. She will want to reduce our dependence on China and build up alliances in the Indo-Pacific region. The prime minister is a lot more liberal on China than she is.”
With the UK now out of the European Union, China may still become a key economic partner with the UK.
Both London and Beijing are seeking to expand their membership of various regional and international trade deals and could become closer if accepted.
Earlier this year, China addressed the issue of the Uyghur population, and allegations of genocide.
Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council, foreign minister Wang Yi said: “These basic facts show that there has never been so-called genocide, forced labour, or religious oppression in Xinjiang.
“Such inflammatory accusations are fabricated out of ignorance and prejudice, they are simply malicious and politically driven hype and couldn’t be further from the truth.”
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