Britain urged to ‘urgently’ stop foreign aid reaching China

Former children’s minister Tim Loughton is appalled at reports of China forcing members of the Uyghur minority to have abortions and use birth control.

He wants Britain to “urgently” stop foreign aid reaching China and cut off support for multinational organisations that are shown to have collaborated with what he calls the Communist party’s “genocidal policies”.

Mr Loughton, who chairs the Conservatives’ human rights commission, wants international development support to be axed for countries where women are in danger of being coerced into having abortions. He is concerned that British taxpayers’ cash could still reach China when it is given to international organisations.

He said: “Whatever your personal view on the subject of abortion, having it imposed on you by the state must be abhorrent, whether your position is informed by religious, clinical or moral considerations, or just personal rights or none of these.”

The Eastbourne MP says China is guilty of “enforced reproductive coercion on an enormous scale”.

A decade ago, China’s health ministry reported that 196million people had been sterilised since 1971 and 336million abortions had been performed.

In 2021 the “Uyghur Tribunal” – an investigation into abuses against this minority group chaired by Geoffrey Nice KC, who led the prosecution of Serbia’s Slobodan Milošević – reported that women have been forced to have “abortions even at the very last stages of pregnancy”.

An Associated Press investigation in 2020 claimed China had a “sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population” and that the state “forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands” of women.

Mr Loughton has provided the foreword to a report from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child which will be launched in Westminster this week. It demands that Britain “ends UK aid going to China” and “stops funding multinational organisations which collaborate with the China Family Planning Association”.

The group also wants any country that receives British overseas aid to have “robust safeguards against women being coerced into abortion”.

Mr Loughton said: “We can’t ignore what is going in China any longer. It is welcome that the UK ended direct bilateral aid to support China’s development in 2011, but we must not stop there.

“Rightly, when faced with this evidence the British people will want the Government urgently to axe international aid to countries where coerced abortions are being carried out.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office says its aid to China was cut by 95 per cent in 2021, with remaining funding focused on “ specific programmes that support British values around open societies and human rights”.

A spokesman said: “No UK aid funds forced abortion practices in China.”

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