Galloway has previously denied the Uighur genocideGarry Knight/Flickr

Content warning: Mention of torture and religious persecution

George Galloway, a former Labour MP, told students at King’s Politics Society that there are no Uighur concentration camps in China despite widespread evidence pointing to the contrary.

Speaking to the society two weeks ago (16/2), Galloway said that students were falling for the same “lies” about China that Britain had over Iraq.

While King’s Politics usually film and upload recordings of events to their YouTube channel, Galloway’s interview wasn't posted with the society saying footage had “frustratingly” been “corrupted”.

In the interview, Galloway claimed that the Uighur muslim population is actually growing faster than other Chinese groups, adding that there are more mosques in Xinjiang than anywhere else in Asia except Saudi Arabia.

When a student rebutted Galloway by saying that 1.25 million Uighurs are held in prison camps, Galloway said that those imprisoned were Islamic terrorists. He went on to say that he favours shooting terrorists over imprisonment, a point he made in an Oxford Union debate previously.

Witnesses said Galloway “kept shouting at [the student]”, dismissing the numbers as propaganda.

According to attendees, the atmosphere “completely changed” after this. One said she was “personally upset” and regretted not walking out. She said it was like being told off as a child; where you know someone with authority is wrong but feel too scared to say anything.

Galloway went on to claim that Israel was an apartheid state, citing evidence collected by Amnesty International. A second year Jewish student, Sam Grankin, asked why Amnesty was a valid source in the case of Israel but not China.

Galloway allegedly dismissed the question, telling Grankin that he was “Israel's champion” and therefore shouldn’t comment.

Grankin told Varsity that he had concerns about Galloway coming before the event, which the King’s Politics chair, Mizanur Rahman, defended against by saying Galloway could be challenged by the floor during the event. Rahman told Varsity he pushed Galloway on his Uighur and pro-Russian position.

Galloway has been public about his views about Uighurs.

Speaking to Russian state affiliated TV in October 2020, Galloway said that there are no concentration camps in China, the standard of living for Muslims in Xinjiang was “rocketing” and that while ethnic Han Chinese families can have two children, Uighurs are allowed to have three.

He claimed the only people being imprisoned are “Al-Qaeda/ISIS fanatics”, who, unlike in the US where they are “killed by drone”, are put in reeducation camps in China to “win them away from extremist fanaticism”.

Galloway’s claims have been widely challenged by detainees’ testimonies.


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A 2021 report by Amnesty International found Uighur Muslims being subject to torture, mass internment and religious repression.

Contrary to Galloway’s claims about terrorist imprisonment, Amnesty reported Muslims being detained for “entirely lawful conduct”, like having a religious-themed picture or communicating with someone abroad. One woman was detained for having WhatsApp on her phone.

Detainees said they were interrogated in “tiger chairs” – steel chairs to keep the body in painful positions and subject to beatings and sleep deprivation. During the early stages of internment, they would be forced to kneel in their cell in silence for hours and told to disavow Islam and study Communist propaganda.

Rahman told Varsity: “We completely condemn the remarks made by George Galloway regarding the clear ill treatment of Uyghurs in China. Personally, as a Muslim myself, I am in complete solidarity with my fellow Muslims who are suffering around the world. It is incredibly important high-profile figures are challenged and called out when they hold views which are, without question, factually incorrect and hurtful.

“We will dedicate a slot on our next term to host a Uyghur Muslim to articulate exactly what is happening in China. We are incredibly sorry for anyone who felt uncomfortable hearing George Galloway’s misplaced views and we hope to do better.”