Weekly Brief – July 7

World Uyghur Congress, 7 July 2018

Uyghurs in the Diaspora Commemorate July 5th, 2009 Urumqi Massacre

On the day of July 5th, Uyghurs in the diaspora commemorated the July 5th Urumqi Massacre. On Thursday, protests took place in countries such as the USA, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, France, Australia, Turkey and Japan. Protesters demanded that the Chinese authorities disclose information about the actual account of Uyghurs who were killed and the whereabouts of those who were victims of enforced disappearance during and after the July 5th incident.

On July 5, 2009, Uyghurs peacefully assembled in People’s Square in Urumqi to protest government inaction over a deadly attack on June 26 on Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. The details of what happened that day are unclear, however, what is known is that the city erupted into unrest that resulted in the deaths of an unknown number of people.

By using the local governments influence, the Chinese government only reported the number of death of Han Chinese. However, the WUC and other international organisations reported that in the aftermath of unrest in Urumqi on July 5, 2009, the Chinese security forces conducted sweeps of Uyghur neighbourhoods in the city arbitrarily detaining Uyghur males. Hundreds were dead and many were forcibly disappeared and to date their whereabouts remain unknown.

11 Uyghurs in Malaysia Urged Not to be Returned to China

The 11 Uyghur Muslims who escaped to Malaysia from a Thai prison in 2017 have now appealed to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to drop the charges against them for entering the country illegally.

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.

This smaller group also belonged to a larger group of several hundred who were detained back in 2014 in Songhla, a southern region of Thailand. After one year, Thai authorities let 173 Uyghurs, mostly women and children, to be transferred to Turkey and subsequently deported 109 to China just days later. No information has yet been released on their whereabouts and it is our concern that the 11 Uyghurs arrested in Malaysia may suffer a similar fate.

WUC President Learns His Mother Died in a Political Indoctrination Camp

Following the terrible loss of his mother, WUC President Dolkun Isa discovered weeks later that she had died after spending nearly a year in a political indoctrination camp.

News only reached family members outside of East Turkistan early this morning, June 11th, nearly a full month later, making worse already tragic circumstances. Mr. Isa has not been able to see his mother or any other family members for the past 24 years after he was forced to flee the country in 1994.

Mrs. Memet, born in 1940 in Aksu prefecture, East Turkistan, was under very close surveillance for more than two decades and wished that she would be able to see her son one last time, but the wish would not be realised.

The last phone communication took place in March, 2017. It was around this time that thousands of Uyghurs around the world began to lose contact with loved ones who remain in East Turkistan.