BMA condemns ‘appalling’ medical involvement in genocide against Uyghur Muslims in China

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 28 January 2022
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The British Medical Association has reasserted its condemnation of the ‘appalling’ findings of a UK tribunal that found evidence of medical involvement in the Chinese state’s genocide against Uyghur people.

Evidence collected and heard during last year’s independent Uyghur Tribunal showed that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other minority group members have been detained, tortured, raped, subjected to sexual violence and forced to undergo medical procedures such as sterilisation and abortion in the northwest of the country. Furthermore, it heard evidence of people dying due to forced medical treatments in the detention centres.

This week, the BMA’s ruling UK Council passed a motion1 saying it was ‘appalled’ by the findings and laying out a number of actions that the Association should take, including writing to the United Nations to request the launch of an independent inquiry, and calling on the Chinese Medical Association to acknowledge and condemn the genocide. The motion, proposed by the Association’s medical ethics committee also called on the BMA to explore working with medical journals to consider refusing research submitted by specialties from China implicated in the atrocities.

BMA medical ethics committee chair Dr Zoe Greaves said:

“It is a doctor’s duty to help improve health and ease suffering, not to inflict it on others.

“The use of medical science and expertise to commit atrocities is abominable and represents an appalling antithesis to every doctor’s pledge to ‘first, do no harm’.

“In China, medicine is being used to commit genocide through population control. The harrowing evidence heard and accepted by the Tribunal details forced sterilisation, abortion and the killing of babies, while medical tests, experiments and procedures are undertaken without people’s consent.

“Mutilation, injury and deaths have all been caused by these horrific actions, exerting misery on thousands and possibly millions of people. This is a gross and intolerable perversion of medicine – and doctors in Britain and around the world should be horrified, and unashamed in their condemnation, and in calling on international bodies to act on this inhuman assault on the Uyghur people.

“The BMA has been vocal in its condemnation of the Chinese state in its inhuman treatment of ethnic minorities, and this motion and forthcoming actions reassert our commitment as a professional body to call out and campaign against human rights abuses on behalf of our members and the medical profession.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Motion in full:

That BMA UK Council is appalled by the findings of the Uyghur Tribunal, the evidence from which found beyond reasonable doubt that the Chinese state – the People’s Republic of China (PRC) - is committing genocide against the Uyghurs and other minorities in China with medical involvement. BMA Council calls for:

  • The BMA Council Chair to write to the United Nations requesting that an urgent independent inquiry is established and funded;
  • The BMA to submit a resolution to the World Medical Association (WMA) calling for the Chinese Medical Association (CMA) to acknowledge and condemn the Uyghur genocide and, if not, the expulsion of the CMA from the WMA;
  • The BMA to explore working with medical journals to consider refusing all research papers submitted by specialties in China that are implicated in the atrocities taking place; and
  • The BMA to host an educational webinar for medical professionals on the Uyghur genocide and medical involvement in the PRC’s actions.