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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

Jul 29, 2021 - World

Lawmakers demand NBA players cut ties with Chinese firms accused of "human slavery"

Dwyane Wade. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Some Republican lawmakers are demanding that NBA players end their endorsement contracts with Chinese sports retailers Anta and Li-Ning, which continue to source cotton from the Xinjiang region, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. government has warned that businesses with supply chains and investments in Xinjiang — where China has been accused of carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims — run a "high risk" of violating U.S. laws on forced labor.

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent.