Weekly Brief January 19th

World Uyghur Congress, 19 January 2018

European Parliamentarians Issue Press Statement Calling on Bulgaria not to Deport Uyghur Asylum Seekers to China

Six Members of the European Parliament have signed a joint press statement calling on the Bulgarian Government not to deport 5 Uyghur asylum seekers to China. The five Uyghur asylum seekers were arrested by Bulgarian police on July 27, 2017 after crossing the border from Turkey and have been held in the Lyumbimets Detention Centre since then. Their initial asylum applications were denied by Bulgarian immigration authorities and they are currently appealing those decisions. The appeal hearings will be held on January 26th, 2018. If forcibly returned to China, the 5 Uyghurs would be at risk of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and death.

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Rights Groups Call For Ilham Tohti’s Release on Fourth Anniversary of His Arrest

Radio Free Asia, 17 January 2018

By Richard Finney – Rights activists and Uyghur advocacy groups today renewed their calls for the release from prison of Uyghur academic and blogger Ilham Tohti, who was arrested four years ago on charges of promoting separatism and is now serving a life term behind bars.

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A police state in Xinjiang in which moderate voices are silenced is not what China needs to achieve stability

SCMP, 17 January 2018

By Roseann Rife – Four years ago this week, the renowned Uygur economist Ilham Tohti was detained by Chinese authorities and eventually sentenced to life in prison for separatism. Commentators predicted that the authorities intended to initiate a severe crackdown in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to head off growing ethnic tensions and silence moderate voices. They were right; the region is now a virtual police state.

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Chinese Authorities Arrest Intellectual Amid Crackdown on Prominent Uyghurs

Radio Free Asia, 12 January 2018

By Kurban Niyaz – Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region have arrested a prominent Uyghur intellectual for exhibiting “nationalistic tendencies,” according to a source in exile, amid an intensifying crackdown on notable members of the ethnic group.

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Weekly Brief January 12th

World Uyghur Congress, 12 January 2018

CECC Chairs Highlight Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in East Turkestan

The two chairs of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative, issued a statement this week highlighting the deteriorating human rights situations in East Turkestan and the persecution of Uyghurs by the Chinese authorities. The statement expresses particular concern for the expansive security system and increasingly invasive surveillance tactics being used by the Chinese government, such as the mass collection of DNA from the Uyghur people, to create a biometric database to more easily track and control Uyghurs, Tibetans and Chinese dissidents. It condemned these measures as a ‘gross violation of privacy and international human rights’.

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Uyghur Detentions Continue in Xinjiang, Despite Pledge to End With Party Congress

Radio Free Asia, 8 January 2018

By Shohret Hoshur – More than two months since the Communist Party Congress in Beijing, authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region continue to place ethnic Uyghurs deemed “extremists” in political re-education camps, despite assurances the detentions would end after the sensitive annual meeting.

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Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance

Washington Post, 9 January 2017

By Simon Denyer – For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience.

“If I am carrying shopping bags in both hands, I just have to look ahead and the door swings open,” she said. “And my 5-year-old daughter can just look up at the camera and get in. It’s good for kids because they often lose their keys.”

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‘Don’t step out of line’: Confidential report reveals how Chinese officials harass activists in Canada

The National Post, 5 January 2017

By Tom Blackwell  – At home in Ontario, his activism barely raised an eyebrow. But when a quiet-spoken Chinese dissident travelled to the country of his birth last year, security officers shadowed him for weeks, booking hotel rooms next to his, even following him to breakfast.

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