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Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: David Cliff/Anadolu Agency/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The British government can't make taking action on genocide dependent on international courts, Luke de Pulford, London-based coordinator for the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), tells Axios in an interview.

Why it matters: China's enormous sway at the UN and the lack of jurisdiction of international courts over China's actions in Xinjiang make it more difficult for the international community to take measures to stop the atrocities there.

Driving the news: Britain's Parliament passed a motion last Thursday declaring China's campaign of mass detention and forced assimilation in Xinjiang a genocide and calling on the government to take action.

  • Britain is now the third country where a parliament has adopted a resolution calling China's repression in Xinjiang a genocide, after Canada and the Netherlands.
  • The U.S. State Department has also stated that what's happening in Xinjiang is genocide.

Details: The U.K.’s official position is that a genocide determination must be made by a competent court, which normally means international courts. But it's hard to see a viable route to a court judgment.

  • The International Criminal Court route is only viable if the UN Security Council makes a referral (which China will certainly veto, as it is a Security Council member) and the International Court of Justice route isn’t viable because China doesn’t consent to its jurisdiction.

De Pulford serves as coordinator for IPAC, a coalition between lawmakers in democratic countries who are concerned about China's authoritarianism.

What he's saying: “There’s no route to a court. So the U.K.’s policy is inoperable. You can’t say genocide determination is for a court when there’s no court that will ever hear the case.”

  • "There can’t be any deepening of the economic relationship between the U.K. and China while the U.K. Parliament suspects that a genocide is taking place," says de Pulford. "You can’t offer economic rewards for genocidal states."

Go deeper

Turkish President Erdoğan: U.S. Armenian genocide designation "the wrong step"

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking at a press conference in November 2020. Photo: Alexis Mitas/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the Biden administration Monday for designating the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1915 as an act of genocide, telling the U.S. to "look in the mirror," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Erdoğan has previously warned a genocide declaration would harm U.S.-Turkey relations. On Monday, he threatened to retaliate by recognizing the U.S.'s long history of violence against Native Americans as genocide.

CDC says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The CDC announced in new guidance Thursday that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

What they're saying: "If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will say at a White House press briefing.

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom

Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline paid hackers linked to the DarkSide cybercrime group nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency after last week's ransomware attack, Bloomberg first reported and the New York Times confirmed.

Why it matters: The breach of the largest refined fuels pipeline in the U.S. triggered new concerns about the vulnerability of the country's increasingly digitized energy systems.