PRESS RELEASE:TIBETAN ACTIVISTS DETAINED FOR SECOND TIME AFTER LEAVING THE PRESS CONFERENCE

Press Release- For immediate release
19 October, 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

Photo: Reuters

ATHENS, 19 October — Just hours before the Olympic Torch handover at the Acropolis, rights groups – International Tibet Network, World Uyghur Congress, and Students for a Free Tibet – held an in-person and live-streamed press conference in Athens, Greece. [1] Activists Pema Doma (Students for a Free Tibet), Zumretay Arkin (World Uyghur Congress), and Mandie McKeown (International Tibet Network) briefed at least 20 international media outlets. Following the briefing two Tibetans present at the conference were detained by Greek police.

Tibetan rights activist, Pema Doma, gave an update concerning the three protesters arrested on the 18th after their disruption of the Torch Ceremony in Olympia [2]. She said that they remain detained in Pyrgos and their charges are not yet clear at this time.

Zumretay Arkin and Pema Doma both urged governments and the international community to take a stand against China’s widespread repression across East Turkestan, Tibet, Hong Kong and all countries and regions under Chinese Communist Party rule, and to boycott Beijing 2022 or risk being complicit in the “Genocide Games.”

Immediately after leaving the press conference, two Tibetan activists, Tsering Gonpa and Tenzin Yangzom were stopped and detained by Greek police as they attempted to make their way back to their hotel. Both Tsering Gonpa (Tibetan-Swiss) and Tenzin Yangzom (Tibetan-American) had been previously detained on 18 October despite not engaging in any protest nor breaking any local or international laws.

At the close of the press conference Pema Doma, Zumretay Arkin, Mandie McKeown, and one other activist, remained at the venue for security reasons. During this time the group were visited by two men (who later identified themselves as Chinese) who wandered into the private press conference room and took photographs of the activists. When confronted the two men did not respond to questions about why they were there or why they were recording the group.

Two other men of Greek descent also entered the private room as well as searching the entire floor of the venue. Again, they refused to answer any questions about who they were or what they were looking for. They did enquire as to the whereabouts of Zumretay Arkin – who had left the room at the time.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Torch Ceremony at the Acropolis, Tsering Gonpa and Tenzin Yangzom were released from police custody after nearly 4 hours. They were not charged with a crime nor given a reason for their detention. They also reported seeing a number of individuals who appeared to be of Asian ethnicity in police custody who had no links to the No Beijing 2022 campaign nor any understanding as to why they had been detained.

Tenzin Yangzom, Grassroots Director at Students for a Free Tibet, said:

“It is outrageous that I was detained by Greek police for the second time in twenty four hours. I came to Greece to help raise awareness about human rights violations in Tibet and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) human rights abuses; I did not engage in any protests nor break any Greek laws and my detention exemplifies how easily fundamental freedoms are eroded when the Chinese Communist Party is in town.”

Mandie McKeown, Executive Director of International Tibet Network, said:

“As Thomas Bach and the Olympic Committee once again attempt to gloss over Beijing 2022 hosts’ egregious human rights abuses – the genocide of the Uyghur people and the brutal and illegal occupation of Tibet – we are buoyed to see the extent of the coverage of the widespread concern that the forthcoming Winter Games cannot simply go ahead as usual and that they must be cancelled, moved, or boycotted.”

Zumretay Arkin, Program and Advocacy Manager at World Uyghur Congress, said:

“Today’s press conference was held in a completely open, legal, and transparent way and yet we felt pressure and intimidation by both Greek authorities who were in touch with the venue about our plans, and individuals who were monitoring us and who we believe were Chinese agents. It is absolutely unacceptable that this kind of intimidation is allowed to take place in a free and democratic country and it only reinforces our argument that China should not be allowed to host the Winter Olympics of 2022. We may be safe now, but millions of Uyghurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians, Chinese and Hong Kongers are being persecuted and we demand a boycott of Beijing 2022.”

For additional updates, visual requests, and interviews:

Jacob Kessler: [email protected], +1 516-776-6472 (Signal & WhatsApp)

Mandie McKeown: [email protected], +44 7748 158618

NOTES TO THE EDITORS:

  1. The live broadcast can be viewed at https://youtu.be/dpsi2-VbWUQ. The footage can be used by media outlets.
  2. https://studentsforafreetibet.org/breaking-tibet-activists-arrested-after-disrupting-olym pic-torch-lighting-ceremony-others-detained-outside-at-direction-of-chinese-governm ent-officials/

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PRESS RELEASE: PRESS CONFERENCE IN ATHENS AS THE OLYMPIC TORCH IS BEING HANDED TO BEIJING

Press Release- For immediate release
18 October, 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers call out the International Olympic Committee’s deep failure as the Olympic Torch, a symbol of peace and hope, is handed to Beijing 2022

WHAT: Ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Torch’s departure from Greece to China, Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong, and human rights expert representatives will hold a press conference overlooking the Acropolis in Athens.

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‘Wall of the Disappeared’: U.S.-backed Uyghur exhibit opens in Geneva

REUTERS

A U.S.-backed Uyghur photo exhibit of dozens of people who are missing or alleged to be held in Chinese-run camps in Xinjiang, China opened in Switzerland on Thursday amid high tensions over human rights between Beijing and Washington.

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PRESS RELEASE: UYGHUR VOICES: HUMAN RIGHTS EXHIBITION

Press Release- For immediate release

16 September, 2021                                                                                                                                  
Contact: World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is partnering with U.S. Missions and Embassies in Geneva, Brussels, and Berlin to organize exhibitions highlighting the atrocities, abuses, and human rights violations committed by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region), with a particular focus on internment camps, gender-based violence, forced labor, and family separation.

This exhibitions are open to the public and free of charge and visitors are expected to respect existing COVID-19 protocols in each of the cities. 

Uyghur Voices will be on display in Geneva September 16-18 from 09:00-18:00 at Place des Nations.  Further information regarding the Brussels and Berlin exhibitions will be forthcoming.

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PRESS RELEASE: 200+ RIGHTS GROUP CALL ON BROADCASTERS TO DROP BEIJING 2022

Press Release – For immediate release
08 September 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

NBC, BBC, CBC, Sky, Discovery, and Eurosport among over 20 Broadcasters targeted by more than 200 Campaign Groups

Today in a public letter [1],  a coalition of over 200 Tibetan, Uyghur, Southern Mongolian, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Chinese Democracy and human rights campaign groups called on 26 Olympic broadcasters – including NBC, BBC, CBC, Sky, and Discovery – to “immediately cancel your broadcasting deals” to screen the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics or face a serious risk of being complicit in China’s plan to ‘sport wash’ [2] their severe and worsening human rights abuses.

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WEEKLY BRIEF: 20 AUGUST 2021

NEWS 

Dolkun Isa vs Shokhrat Zakir in Süddeutsche Zeitung: “One Fights For His People, The Other Imprisons Them.”

On August 13, the Süddeutsche Zeitung dedicated a page-long article to World Uyghur Congress (WUC) President, Dolkun Isa, and his activism for Uyghur rights. The article featured a story of two opposites, Dolkun Isa and Shokhrat Zakir. Dolkun Isa, President of the WUC, has been tirlesly advocating for the rights of the Uyghurs ever since he was a student, years before the Chinese government adopted its genocide policy against the Uyghurs. Instead, Shokhrat Zakir, Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the deputy party chief of the Uyghur Region, had a stellar career with the Communist Party of China. Representative of the brutal regime, his figure highlights the responsibility for the internment of millions of Uyghurs and the crackdown of the Uyghur culture.

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Coalition Statement on State Department’s updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

End Uyghur Forced Labour. 13 July 2021

Below is an article published by End Uyghur Forced Labour. Photo:AFP.

Today’s Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory, issued by six U.S. Government departments, is an encouraging further step toward holding the Chinese Government accountable for the continued human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region. Following the June 24 White House announcement of new sanctions cracking down on forced labour in the solar industry supply chain, and after the strong June 13 statement on Uyghur forced labour made by President Biden at the G7 Summit, today’s announcement by Secretary of State Blinken sends a clear message to companies around the world: continuing to conduct business as usual in the Uyghur Region will jeopardise your market access to the United States. 

The Coalition welcomes the U.S. Government’s forceful statement on the imperative for the private sector to act, given the risks they face:

“Given the severity and extent of these abuses, including widespread, state-sponsored forced labor and intrusive surveillance taking place amid ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating U.S. law.”

The Coalition also welcomes the European Commission’s guidance released today on the due diligence expected by companies to identify and curtail forced labour globally, which specifically notes companies should redirect raw material sourcing from high-risk areas where workplace assessments are not feasible. The combination of the U.S. and EU announcements is a clear signal that there is a global consensus emerging that inaction by companies implicated in Uyghur forced labour will not be tolerated. However, although this guidance is a good start, the EU must do more. 

The EU should follow the examples of other governments to introduce guidance specific to the Uyghur Region, which makes fully explicit that due diligence on the ground in the Region is impossible and that companies must urgently disengage. Further, the EU should match guidance with strong legislation: an ambitious mandatory due diligence law, import restrictions, and supply chain transparency requirements. The Coalition is encouraged by steps in this direction in the EU, and stands ready to support more tangible outcomes. 

A critical step companies must take to align the growing body of laws and enforcement actions on goods produced through Uyghur forced labour is to make a formal commitment to the Call to Action issued by the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region. The Call to Action sets forth the specific steps companies must take to ensure their supply chains are free from Uyghur forced labour. The Coalition will continue to reach out to companies and encourage them to sign the pledge. Companies must act on the basis of their ethical and normative obligation consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, they should recognise the severe legal, reputational and commercial risks they face by continuing to operate in the Uyghur Region or continuing to maintain business ties with suppliers using state-organised forced labour of Uyghurs.

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