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’.
The Chairs of the CECC also highlighted the extensive use ‘re-education’ as a particularly worrying issue, where Uyghurs have been held for months and subjected to political indoctrination sessions. In particular the CECC raised the fact that 30 relatives of prominent Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer have been detained and have likely been subjected to mistreatment by Chinese authorities. Finally, the chairs of the CECC also drew particular attention to the targeting of Uyghurs studying abroad by the Chinese authorities, who have demanded that they return to China. Once the students return, the vast majority have been arrested and put in the ‘re-education camps’.
WUC Issues Press Release Calling on French President to Raise Human Rights During China Visit
Ahead of his official visit to China this week from January 8th – 10th, the World Uyghur Congress issued a press release calling on the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to raise human rights concerns, especially the numerous violations perpetrated against the Uyghur people, with his counterparts in Beijing.
This last year has seen a dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation in East Turkestan, as the Uyghur people in particular have been subjected to increasingly harsh and sweeping restrictions. The Uyghur identity is now under direct threat on account of openly assimilationist policies.
It is the duty of the international community to respectfully call out those states that fail to live up to international human rights norms. France continues to stand as a pillar of democracy and respect for human rights in Europe and should ensure that those values continue to be reflected in its foreign relations. The Uyghur people look to President Macron to publicly raise these serious human rights concerns, so they are not forced to suffer in silence.
Amnesty International Calls for Urgent Action on Ethnic Tatar Held Incommunicado by Chinese Authorities
Amnesty International have called for urgent action of the case of Shafkat Abasi, a member of the Tatar ethnic minority, who was detained by Chinese authorities on 13 March of 2017 and has not been heard from since. He was a medical practitioner who had trained in traditional Uyghur medicine. It is believed that he was detained for accessing foreign websites on his computer, for owning banned religious books and for his connection with an elderly patient who is an imam. There has been no information about his whereabouts or well-being since his arrest and we fear that he is at risk of torture and other serious human rights violations.
Mass Detention of Uyghurs in ‘Re-education’ Camps Continues
Thousands of Uyghurs are still being sent to ‘re-education’ camps across East Turkestan by Chinese authorities, with new reports emerging each week of innocent Uyghurs being arrested and forced to endure ‘political re-education’. The measures were initiated by Chinese authorities this year. They were escalated in October 2017, as the Chinese government claimed they were necessary for security ahead of its 19th Party congress. Uyghurs accused of ‘extremist’ or ‘politically incorrect’ views have been rounded up and sent to the camps.
Three months later, thousands more Uyghurs have been sent to the camps and forced to live in squalid and overcrowded conditions. Those with ties to anyone outside China or who express any religious sentiment are being targeted in particular. Over 30 relatives of prominent Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer were rounded up and sent to the camps, solely due to their association with her. This week, the four wealthiest men in Kashgar were unjustly arrested for alleged acts of ‘religious extremism’ and sent to the camps, as the Chinese authorities seeks to remove any prominent Uyghurs or potential leaders who do not conform to the party line. This region-wide purge is sadly unlikely to end any time soon and has only escalated in recent weeks.
Confidential Report Reveals Chinese Harassment of Uyghur Activists in Canada
An article written by Tom Blackwell for the National Post which was posted this week highlighted China’s campaign of harassment & intimidation of Uyghur, Tibetans, and other Human Rights activists in Canada. The article reveals that the Chinese government routinely threatens the lives of relatives of activists who are still living in China in an attempt to silence them, as well as tactics of intimidation and harassment.
The Chinese government repeatedly demands that other countries respect their national sovereignty when they are called out for persecuting Uyghurs, Tibetans, etc. However, China rountinely interferes in the domestic situation of countries around the world and tries to silence their citizens, with no respect for the national sovereignty of these countries.