UK local council changes names in solidarity with Uighurs

UK local council to change street names in solidarity with China's persecuted Uighurs
2 min read
19 March, 2021
The local council of the London area of Tower Hamlets will change names of roads and buildings in solidarity with Uighur Muslims and other victims of Chinese government persecution.
Activists in London have long protested China's repression of the Uighur Muslims [Getty]
Roads and buildings in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets will be named Tiananmen Square, Uighur Court, Hong Kong Road and Tibet Hill, in a move that will likely irk the Chinese government, following the handing-over ceremony for the Chinese embassy’s relocation to the borough from west London.

The motion came after months of campaigning by opposition councillors for the local authority to acknowledge China's human rights abuses in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and other places.

China has been accused of committing genocide against its Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang by detaining hundreds of thousands of people in concentration camps where they are abused, tortured, and sometimes killed.

Between one and two million people are estimated to have been detained since 2014.

Though the Chinese ambassador to the UK claimed the embassy move would “write a new chapter for a China-UK golden era,” councillors in Tower Hamlets voted for these name changes to assert “support for the freedom and diversity of our borough,” The Guardian reported on Friday.

The councillors said they welcomed the relocation of the embassy from London's West End but “we must continue to make clear where our own standards and principles apply.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Rabina Khan, who proposed the council motion, said: “Tower Hamlets has a unique history of welcoming people and at Wednesday’s full council meeting politicians unanimously came together on the amended motion that whilst we welcome the proposed relocation of the Chinese embassy, we also stand up against the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party’s] human rights violations.”

European ambassadors this week agreed on sanctions on four Chinese individuals and one entity. The sanctions are expected to be formerly imposed at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday.


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