The Chinese Foreign Ministry jumped on the opportunity to slam Canada’s human rights record on Tuesday after a number of Western allies levied sanctions against individuals and entities believed to be involved in the ongoing genocide against the country’s Uyghur minority. 

Canada alongside the US, the UK and the EU announced a number of sanctions on Monday as part of a collective effort to punish China. 

“It must be pointed out that these countries, who proclaim themselves to be ‘judges’ of human rights and are keen to lecture others, have an ignoble record on human rights. They are not in the position to criticize China, much less to shift blames [sic] to China for what they have committed,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying. 

“In the 1870s, the Canadian government included assimilation of indigenous people in its official agenda and openly advocated the killing of the Indian bloodline. Starting with indigenous children, residential schools were set up to carry out cultural genocide policies. Incomplete statistics show over 150,000 indigenous children were sent to such schools, of which more than 50,000 died of abuses.”

Earlier this month, parliamentarians in the House of Commons banded together to vote to declare that China’s continued treatment of the Uyghurs amounted to an act of genocide. 

Despite bipartisan support for the motion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his entire cabinet abstained from the vote. 

Despite Trudeau’s reluctance to declare China’s actions a genocide, in 2019 the prime minister accepted findings by the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls which declared that Canada was involved in an ongoing “genocide.” 

“We accept their findings, including that what happened amounts to genocide,” said Trudeau at the time. 

“There are many debates ongoing around words and use of words. Our focus as a country, as leaders, as citizens must be on the steps we take to put an end to this situation.”