Weekly Brief August 18th

World Uyghur Congress, 18 August 2017

WUC Issues Press Release Expressing Alarm at Uyghur Language Ban

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release this week after it emerged that Chinese authorities in the Hotan prefecture had decided to completely ban the Uyghur language at all education levels up to and including secondary school at the start of the fall semester in September 2017.

A five-point directive was issued by Hotan’s Education Department in late June 2017, which stated that Mandarin Chinese “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realize the full coverage of the common language and writing system education.” The directive also instructs schools to “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uyghur language training to Chinese language teachers” and “prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses.”

While the policy currently only covers schools in the Hotan prefecture, there remains a very real possibility that the policy may be extended to cover all of East Turkestan, given China’s continuous efforts to erode the Uyghur language and tendency to try out a new policy at the local level first, before deploying it at a larger scale.

Regardless, the elimination of an entire taught language from a prefecture made up of close to two million Uyghurs is an affront to the most basic aspects of cultural life. The policy stands outwardly as the realization of China’s clear assimilationist drive that targets fundamental aspects of Uyghur life including religious belief and cultural rights.

US Religious Freedom Report Heavily Criticizes China

The U.S. State Department published their annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 this week, which heavily criticized China for its discriminatory laws and practices which denied its citizens freedom of religion or belief.

The report singled out China for continuing to physically abuse, detain, arrest, torture and imprison Uyghurs, Tibets and other religious minorities. It also documented the severe discrimination against Tibetan Buddhists and Uyghur Muslims at the hands of the Chinese government.

The recognition of the serious human rights violations committed by the Chinese government and deprivation of freedom of religion comes at an important time, as the Uyghur people have endured a marked increase in restrictions on their freedom of religion and religious persecution in the past few years.

Other news:

Massive Surge in Police and Security Staff Recruitment Recorded in East Turkestan

A report from the South China Morning Post noted an explosive surge in the number of police and security staff jobs advertised by Chinese authorities in East Turkestan in the past 11 months. Citing a study conducted by Adrian Zenz, an expert on the region at the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany, over 84,000 security-related positions were advertised since September 2016, almost 50% more than in the past 10 years. The escalation seems to coincide with the appointment of Chen Quanguo as the new party boss for the region. As Chen Quanguo was known for his violent and suffocating security tactics in his previous position as the party boss of neighboring Tibet, this is a very worrying indication of what Chinese intentions for East Turkestan will be.

China Jails Ethnic Kazakh Man for ‘Helping Others Emigrate to Kazakhstan’

A crackdown on ethnic Kazakhs and Uyghurs with any overseas ties continued this week as Chinese authorities in East Turkestan reportedly sentenced an ethnic Kazakh man to a 12 year jail term for allegedly ‘helping others emigrate to Kazakhstan’. In recent weeks, it has emerged that many ethnic Kazakhs have had their passports confiscated and others have been detained by Chinese authorities for seeking to study or emigrate to Kazakhstan.

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Weekly Brief August 11th

World Uyghur Congress, 11 August 2017

China Targets Kazakh Ethnic Group

A number of reports this week further indicate that Chinese authorities in are increasingly targeting the Kazakh minority in East Turkestan. The Kazakhs are Turkic people and predominately Muslim, like the Uyghurs, who also constitute a sizable ethnic group in China, with between 1.25-1.5 million reportedly living in East Turkestan.

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Weekly Brief August 4th

World Uyghur Congress, 4 August 2017

WUC General Secretary Briefly Detained in Rome, Italy

On 26 July 2017, Dolkun Isa, General Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress and UNPO Member, was arrested by 15-20 General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) officers outside the entrance of the Italian Senate. Isa was scheduled to speak at a conference organised by UNPO in collaboration with the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty and hosted by Senator Luigi Compagna, entitled “SOS Rule of Law: The Uyghur Emergency“.

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World Uyghur Congress, 21 July 2017

China Launches Racial Profiling Campaign Targeting Uyghurs

According to Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities in East Turkestan have launched a racial profiling campaign in the region to assess the security threat posed by the non-Han Chinese population in Urumqi. A form was distributed to the residents of Urumqi to collect information and grade individuals based on 10 categories including Between Ages of 15 and 55, Ethnic Uyghur, Unemployed, Possesses Passport, Prays Daily, Possesses Religious Knowledge, Visited [one of] 26 [flagged] Countries, Belated Return to China, Has Association With Foreign Country, and Family With Children Who Are Homeschooled. The campaign reportedly specifically targets the Uyghur population and labels them as more likely to be a security threat, based solely on their ethnicity.

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Weekly Brief July 14th

World Uyghur Congress, 14 July 2017

Round Up of Uyghur Students in Egypt Continues

Despite condemnation from human rights groups and Uyghur exiles across the world, Egypt’s sweeping crackdown on Uyghur students continued this week as even more Uyghurs were rounded up and detained. According to Radio Free Asia, at least 200 Uyghurs, many of them religious students at Al-Azhar religious university, have been detained by Egyptian authorities.

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Weekly Brief July 7th

World Uyghur Congress, 7 July 2017

Egyptian Police Detain and Deport Uyghur Students

A number of Uyghur students studying in Cairo have been arrested in recent days, with reports indicating that some have already been returned to China with others at risk of deportation.

At least 12 Uyghur students were deported and put on a flight to China late Thursday (7 July 2017), and 22 more were detained for immediate deportation, three Egyptian aviation officials said. On July 4th, we were told that 30 Uyghur students were arrested at Eslem Uyghur restaurant in Cairo’s 7th district, including students working in the restaurant. Further reports indicate that more than 80 Uyghurs have been arrested in Cairo in July so far.

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Weekly Brief June 30th

World Uyghur Congress, 30 June 2017

World Uyghur Congress Attends UNPO’s 13th General Assembly in Edinburgh

World Uyghur Congress General Secretary, Dolkun Isa, and former WUC President, Erkin Alptekin, represented the WUC at the 13th General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization in Edinburgh, Scotland. The General Assembly lasted from June 26th – June 28th and provided a critical platform for dialogue between UNPO members. Representatives of unrepresented groups from all over the world had the opportunity to discuss the common struggles they face and how to collectively advocate for self-determination and respect for human rights.

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Weekly Brief June 23rd

World Uyghur Congress, 23 June 2017

WUC Raises Uyghur Issue at 35th UN Human Rights Council

The World Uyghur Congress sent two representatives to attend the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland from June 12-14th. The session allowed the WUC to continue its advocacy effort in the lead up to China’s UPR review next year.

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