‘Gulmira Imin Must Not be Forgotten’

Radio Free Asia, 16 February 2018

By Mamatjan Juma and Alim Seytoff – Gulmira Imin, a former government employee and administrator of the Uyghur-language Salkin web site in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, is now nearing the start of her eighth year of a life sentence in prison following her conviction on charges of ethnic separatism.

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Weekly Brief February 9th

World Uyghur Congress, 9 February 2018

WUC Urges Malaysian Government Not to Deport 11 Uyghur Refugees to China

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release this week expressing its deep concern about reports that the 11 Uyghurs refugees in detention in Malaysia are at significant risk of being deported to China. If returned to China, they would be at significant risk of being subjected to severe human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance and death, due to their ethnic identity. We strongly urge the Malaysian government to abide by international human rights standards and refrain from returning 11 innocent people to a country which would subject them to irreparable harm.

The Uyghur refugees were arrested in Pahang, Malaysia by police on 4 January 2018 after escaping from a Thai Refugee Detention Centre in November 2017. They had been held in detention in Thailand since early 2014. Twenty Uyghurs in total managed to escape the detention center, but 3 were caught by police while still in Thailand and 6 were caught in Malaysia and deported to Thailand afterwards. The remaining 11 were hiding in Malaysia until they were arrested at the beginning of January.

In response to their escape, the Chinese government has called on Thailand to “quickly bring to justice” those who escaped. This week, multiple media outlets reported that the Chinese government has been pressuring the Malaysian government to return all 11 refugees back to China.

It is unconscionable that these 11 Uyghurs have been put in this position. Not only have they had to endure arbitrary detention in Thailand for over 3 years, for trying to flee persecution and repression in China, now they may be forced to return to country from which they fled in the first place. These 11 human beings only wanted a better life for themselves and their families where they could enjoy their basic rights and freedoms. They now find their very lives at risk.

Human Rights Watch and the U.S. State Department have joined the WUC in calling on Malaysia to not deport the 11 Uyghur refugees. We appeal to the international community to join us in urging Malaysia not deport these individuals and subject them to a miserable fate.

WUC Issues Press Release on 21st Anniversary of Ghulja Massacre

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release this week to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Ghulja Massacre in which hundreds of peaceful Uyghur protesters were killed by Chinese state security forces in early February 1997. The date remains a watershed moment in terms of the treatment of Uyghurs in East Turkestan by the Chinese government, who would use excessive force to violently break up any form of demonstration since then.

On 5 February 1997, thousands of Uyghurs gathered for a peaceful demonstration in the Ili prefecture city of Ghulja in East Turkestan in response to continued Chinese aggression and the prohibition of Uyghur social organizations, known as Mäshräp, from gathering for cultural events. The protests were immediately quashed by Chinese security forces leaving at least 100 dead and many more injured. Nearly 4000 would be arrested and of those, 200 would subsequently face the death penalty.

The response to the demonstrations would prove crucial in understanding the intentions of the Chinese government in East Turkestan for years afterwards. We continue to witness an outright disregard for human life in many of these circumstances. Freedom of assembly and association are clearly enshrined in international law to ensure that the peaceful voice of the oppressed are able to speak out to their oppressors and demand equal treatment.

Unemployed Uyghurs Forced to Take Indoctrination Classes in East Turkestan

It was reported this week that unemployed Uyghurs across East Turkestan are being forced to take indoctrination classes by the Chinese government to ensure that they ‘avoid activities that affect social stability’. These classes reportedly last for several hours a day and are focused at promoting a ‘patriotic education’. Forced indoctrination classes are becoming the norm in East Turkestan as hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are already being detained and subjected to indoctrination by Chinese police in the numerous ‘re-education’ camps.

Facial-Recognition Glasses Increase Surveillance of Uyghurs

The Chinese government use of advanced technology to monitor and control the Uyghur population intensified this week, as it was announced that Chinese police would now be equipped with facial-recognition sunglasses. The glasses are reportedly capable of picking individual faces out of a large crowd of people. While the Chinese government claims that will be used to combat criminality and terrorism, they will likely be used to monitor, arrest and harass Uyghurs, dissidents and activists.

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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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Local Statement by the Delegation of the European Union on International Human Rights Day

Delegation of the European Union to China, 8 December 2017

On 10 December the international community marks the anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration, which all UN members including China have agreed to uphold, states that each and every one of us has the right to freedom of thought, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

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EEAS Press Release: Human Rights Dialogue between the European Union and China

EEAS Press Team, 23 June 2016

EEAS Press Team — The 35th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was held in Brussels on 22-23 June.

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Ethnic Mongolian Herders Protest Lack of Compensation For Grazing Ban

Radio Free Asia, 27 March 2017


By Qiao Long — Hundreds of ethnic Mongolian herders in Inner Mongolia’s Heshigten banner have protested repeatedly in recent days over the nonpayment of subsidies after they were persuaded to stop grazing their animals as part of a regionwide ecological strategy.

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China deploys aircraft, combat helicopters in anti-terror drill in Xinjiang province

The Hindustan Times, 2 March 2017

By Sutirtho Patranobis — China deployed multiple aircraft including combat helicopters in a counter-terror drill in its restive northwestern region of Xinjiang this week.

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Remembering the Ghulja Incident: 20th Anniversary of ‘Uyghur Tiananmen’ Passes With Little Notice

The Diplomat, 1 March 2017


By Peter Irwin — February 5, 1997, remains one of the most unforgettable days of commemoration for the Uyghur people. This year, the 20th anniversary of violently suppressed demonstrations in Ghulja, Xinjiang, reminds us of the raw and unimaginable power of the Chinese government.

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