Canadian senators who voted against a motion labelling China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide received praised from China’s foreign ministry.

Spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry Wang Wenbin said those who voted against the motion were “people of vision.”

“We urge some Canadian politicians to respect facts, stop the clumsy trick of attacking China for their selfish political gains, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights,” said Wang.

“The rejection of the wrong motion on Xinjiang by the Canadian Senate once again shows that the despicable schemes of a few anti-China forces have been seen through by more and more people of vision.”

On Wednesday, senators voted on Motion 79, which called on the Senate to recognize that China’s government is perpetrating a genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.

33 senators voted against, 29 in favour and 13 abstained. The motion was defeated.

Independent Senators Group Leader Senator Yuen Pau Woo was one of the senators who voted against the motion. During debate on the motion, Woo urged senators to vote against the motion, echoed Communist Party of China’s talking points and lectured Canadians on residential schools.

“The fact that China does not share our view of individual freedoms or, indeed, our interpretation of freedoms based on the Charter is not a basis on which to lecture the Chinese on how they should govern themselves,” said Woo. 

In February, a similar motion was passed in the House of Commons. Conservative MPs Michael Chong and Garnett Genuis introduced the motion following reports of torture and mass sexual abuse being perpetrated in the Xinjiang region.

The motion received 266 votes in favour and 0 votes against. 

While the motion received support from members of all parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal cabinet abstained from participating in the vote. 

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