Weekly Brief February 16th

World Uyghur Congress, 16 February 2018

Association of Malaysian Lawyers Calls for Uyghur Refugees Not to Be Extradited to China

The Malaysian Bar (an association of Malaysian lawyers) issued a press release this week calling on the Malaysian Government not to deport the 11 Uyghur refugees to China and to respect & uphold the rules and customs of international law and Malaysian law.

The press release also called upon the Malaysian Government not to repeat the incident in August 2011 when it returned to China 11 Uyghurs who were residing in Malaysia, including some who were registered as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur. The fate of those 11 persons is not known.

The Malaysian Bar highlighted the fact that that Malaysia‘s extradition agreement with China prohibits the return of individuals who face punishment or persecution due to race, religion, nationality or political opinion. As China’s persecution of Uyghurs for their religious beliefs, culture, Uyghur identity and political opinions is well-documented, the 11 Uyghur refugees should not be extradited according to the terms of their extradition agreement with China.

The press release concluded by stating that “Malaysian Government must not abdicate or ignore its legal and moral obligation not to deport individuals to situations where their very lives may be in serious jeopardy”.

Chinese Authorities Launch Anti-Religion Campaign from Local Police Station in East Turkestan

This week it was reported that a new ‘Anti-Religion’ campaign has been launched by Chinese authorities in East Turkestan, specifically targeting the religious beliefs of the Uyghur population. The campaign is being conducted from local police stations and consists of anti-religious propaganda aimed at undermining the Islamic faith of local residents. The campaign has been reportedly ongoing for 2 months and photos have emerged of police officers holding banners stating, ‘We Must Solemnly Reject Religion, Must Not Believe in Religion’. This campaign is just the latest action in a sustained attack on the right to freedom of religion of the Uyghur people.

U.S. Senator Questions Company on Sales of DNA Sequencers to China

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter this week calling on US-based firm Thermo Fisher Scientific to explain its relationship with Chinese police in East Turkestan. Human Rights Watch drew attention to the fact that Thermo Fisher Scientific was selling the Chinese police DNA sequencers, which are being used to collect DNA samples and biometric data from millions of Uyghurs, dissidents and human rights activists. The company is facilitating the massive violation of the right to privacy involved in the often non-consensual collection of DNA and, more generally, repression of the Uyghur people.
In the letter, Senator Rubio expressed his concern at Thermo Fisher Scientific’s involvement in the DNA collection and sought clarification of the company’s relationship with the Chinese government. The letter is an encouraging first step in holding foreign companies who are complicit in human rights violations against Uyghurs accountable for their actions.

Academic States East Turkestan May be the Most Heavily Policed Region on the Planet

Dr. Adrian Zenz, a German academic focusing on security in Tibet and East Turkestan, published an article this week in Chinese Policy Institute analysing the rapid securitisation of Tibet and East Turkestan under Chen Quanguo. The article charts the massive increase in security personal, transforming East Turkestan essentially into a police state with larger numbers of police per capita than even East Germany during the Cold War. It provides a disturbing look at how the Chinese government has used new technology and a massive dedication of resources to create truly dystopian security and surveillance regimes to monitor and control the Uyghur population.