- Survation/Free Tibet poll finds that 75% back sanctions on Chinese Official Chen Quanguo
- Chen is in charge of the region where the government has inflicted widespread human rights abuses against Uyghur people
- Chen escaped recent UK sanctions that targeted his deputies
A new Survation and Free Tibet poll has found that 75% of the UK population want to see the UK government impose sanctions on Chen Quanguo, a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official responsible for atrocities against the Uyghur people as well as wide-ranging human rights abuses in Tibet. The finding comes as MPs prepare to vote on whether to classify Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur people as genocide.
In March, the UK government imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Uyghur people, but notable by his absence from those sanctions was Chen Quanguo, the person to whom these four officials report. As Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (known to the Uyghur people as East Turkestan), Chen is ultimately the architect of the abusive actions there. Chen was previously Party Secretary of the area governed as the Tibetan Autonomous Region, where he oversaw the introduction of a surveillance state and a crackdown on refugees escaping to India, as well as torture. His actions there were rewarded by promotion to his current role, where he has perfected the oppression, making it into what many governments are now calling a genocide of the Uyghur people.
The Chinese responded to the previous round of sanctions by sanctioning nine UK-nationals, including the MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Nusrat Ghani, Tim Loughton, Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien, and peers Baroness Kennedy and Lord Alton. The Inter-Parliament Alliance on China, a cross-party group of law-makers from across the world, has called for Dominic Raab to add Chen Quanguo to the list of those sanctioned as the USA did in 2020.
In the poll, the overwhelming majority of respondents, across all political leanings, support the British government taking action to ban Chen from entering the UK and freezing any UK-based assets. Only 4% of respondents opposed sanctions. A Free Tibet petition against Chen Quanguo has over 10,000 signatures.
John Jones, Campaigns and Advocacy Manager for Free Tibet, said:
“Chen Quanguo cut his teeth increasing the oppression of occupied Tibet and now there is evidence that some of the measures he has taken against the Uyghur people are being transferred back to Tibet in an escalating spiral of human rights abuses.
“The UK government must show that no trade deal or research partnership is worth appeasing genocide dictated by one of the most evil men alive. The UK population clearly wants our government to take a stand, and I’d encourage them to add their names to our petition to keep the pressure on.”
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, said:
”The British Government has made a welcome start in showing China that there will be consequences from the industrial scale human rights abuses the regime has waged on its people but the sanctions against the four Chinese officials are only the tip of the iceberg. A glaring omission from that list, however, is Chen Quanguo, who used Tibet as a training ground for the ruthless oppression that is now being carried out on the Uyghur people. Under no circumstances is this the sort of person that a democracy like the UK should be doing business with or allowing anywhere near our shores as this survey bears out.”
Free Tibet representatives are available for interview, along with representative campaign images.
Press contact – Will Hoyles, Media Officer, [email protected], 07772 512519
The Survation poll of 1,009 adults living in the UK was carried out on behalf of Free Tibet between 8th and 12th April and was weighted for a demographically representative sample. The wording of the question is as follows: ‘Chen Quanguo was once the most senior Chinese government official in Tibet, where the United Nations and human rights groups say he oversaw restrictions on religion and protest, widespread surveillance, and torture. He is now in charge of what several governments have called the genocide of the Uyghur people. To what extent would you support or oppose the UK government banning Chen Quanguo from entering the UK and freezing his UK-based assets?’ The results were as follows:
Strongly Support – 55%
Somewhat Support – 21%
Neither support nor oppose – 14%
Somewhat Oppose – 2%
Strongly Oppose – 2%
Don’t know – 7%
The full data breakdown is available on request.