WEEKLY BRIEF – 09 APRIL 2021

NEWS

Japan criticizes China for its treatment of the Uyghurs 
On  April 5, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese government has issued unusually strong criticism of China. The Japanese foreign minister has called upon his Chinese counterpart to take action to improve Uyghur human rights and end the crackdown in Hong Kong. This statement has been issued shortly before Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga travels to the U.S. for a summit with President Biden on April 16. 

Chinese Propaganda Musical on Uyghurs 
On April 5, the New York Times reported that China has added a musical to its extensive propaganda campaign to defend its genocidal campaign against the Uyghurs. It features tired Chinese stereotypes about Uyghurs and portrays East Turkistan as a region “scrubbed free of Islamic influence”. The movie debuted in Chinese cinemas last week as the Chinese government also announced that it will release a 60 min documentary of forced confessions of Uyghurs. 

Special Hearings on Uyghur Genocide in the Lithuanian Parliament
On April 22, special hearings will be held in the Lithuanian parliament, where international experts and relatives of detained people will talk about China’s human rights atrocities against the Uyghur people. The proposal has been drafted by MP Dovilė Šakalienė, who has been added to the Chinese sanctions list and has faced severe threats from the Chinese government since then.  

The Heartbreaking Story of Camp Survivor Anar Sabit
On April 5, the New Yorker published the heartbreaking story of Anar Sabit, who survived the horrors inside of the internment camps. In 2017 Anar Sabit, who was working as a junior accountant in Canada, had to return to East Turkistan to settle her father’s affairs, after he suddenly passed away. She was arrested by the Chinese police officers at the airport when she tried to fly back home. After hours of interrogation and torture, she was brought into an internment camp. Almost 2 years later, she managed finally to escape the horror machinery of the Chinese government.  

Death Sentence for Former Uyghur Officials 
Deutsche Welle reported on April 7th that Chinese authorities have handed the death sentence (with a two-year reprieve) to Shirzat Bawudun and Sattar Sawut, two Uyghur former justice and education officials on the grounds of “separatist activities”. Just last week, their forced confessions were seen in a Chinese State TV documentary.

The US Considers Boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics
On April 6,  a spokesman for the United States Department of State announced that the US government is considering a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to China’s genocidal policy against the Uyghurs and other severe human rights violations. The US is planning to consult closely with their allies and partners regarding this issue. Nevertheless, the US State Department denied that it was planning a joint boycott of the Olympic games on the evening of the same day.  

Furthermore this week, AXIOS has reported that the International Olympic Committee has awarded a Chinese textiles company, that has been linked to Uyghur forced labour, with a contract for the Tokyo 2021 and Beijing 2022 Olympics to supply formal uniforms for IOC members and staff.

Zumretay Arkin, WUC Program & Advocacy Manager, together with Lhadon Tethong, Director of Tibet Action Institute wrote a piece arguing that the US, Canada and like-minded countries coordinate a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics. 

Uyghur Women Jailed for Weeping in Front of Foreigner
On April 7, Radio Free Asia reported that an Uyghur woman, mother of two and wife of a taxi driver who was jailed for driving a religious figure, has been sentenced to three years in prison for crying in front of a foreigner. Chinese authorities said this amounted to disclosing “state secrets”.

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PRESS RELEASE: THE WUC COMMEMORATES THE 31ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE BAREN UPRISING

Press Release – For Immediate Release
05 April 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
+49 89 5432 1999 or
 [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) commemorates the 31st anniversary of the Baren Uprising, which took place in Akto County, Kizilsu Kirghiz Prefecture, from April 5 to 10, 1990. It is estimated that between two and three thousand Uyghurs died in the process and aftermath of the Baren Uprising, and the decade(s) that followed were marked by a significant increase in the brutal repression of Uyghur dissent. 

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The cost of speaking up against China

BBC. 31 March 2021

Below is an article published by BBC. Photo:Jeremy Meek/BBC.

Qelbinur Sedik was making breakfast when the video call came, and the sight of her sister’s name made her nervous. Many months had passed since the two had spoken. In fact, many months had passed since Sedik had spoken to any of her family in China.

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China imposes sanctions on UK MPs, lawyers and academic in Xinjiang row

The Guardian. 26 March 2021

Below is an article published by The Guardian. Photo: Guardian/PA/PA Getty.

China has imposed sanctions on 10 UK organisations and individuals, including the former leader of the Conservative party, Iain Duncan Smith, over what it called the spreading of “lies and disinformation” about human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

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Weekly Brief – 12 March 2021

NEWS

European Union to Sanction Chinese Officials over Crimes in Uyghur Region
On March 11th, the Wall Street Journal reported that the European Union will target China with sanctions for the first time since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. According to EU diplomats, four officials and one entity from East Turkistan will be sanctioned over their complicity in the severe human rights abuses against Uyghurs.

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WEEKLY BRIEF – 05 March 2021

NEWS

46th UN Human Rights Council Session
On March 3, WUC’s Program & Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin, delivered a statement on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism. In her statement, she stresses the negative impact of counter-terrorism laws on the enjoyment of normal family life for Uyghurs, especially for women and children.

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Weekly Brief – 25 February 2021

NEWS:

Canadian House of Commons Recognizes Uyghur Genocide
On the 22nd of February, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) applauded the adoption of a Opposition Motion Bill in the House of Commons of Canada, acknowledging China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other Turkic people, as genocide.

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‘Nobody wants this job now’: the gentle leaders of China’s Uighur exiles

The Guardian. 22 February 2021

Below is an article published by The Guardian. Photo: Reyhana Turdieva

Dzhigit-beshchi is the name Uighur people in Kyrgyzstan give to the leader they elect for their mahallah – or community. Usually it’s a respected person, mostly an elderly man.

Pushed out of China during the repressions of the 1960s, tens of thousands of Uighurs went to the former Soviet Union when these ageing leaders were just young men. Sticking closely to relatives and acquaintances who had come to Soviet cities and villages in previous waves, they built mosques and mahallahs, each with its own dzhigit-beshchi.

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