WEEKLY BRIEF, 29 JANUARY 2021

News

Leaked Chinese Police Database Reveals Mass Surveillance of Uyghurs
On 29 January, the Intercept analyzed millions of leaked files from a massive Chinese police database, centered on Ürümqi, which offer an inside view of mass surveillance facilitating repression and arbitrary detainment of Uyghurs in the internment camp system. The analysis reveals that police use community informants such as text messages, phone contacts, e-commerce and banking records to collect massive amounts of information on Uyghurs in Ürümqi. Moreover, invasive surveillance techniques are found to watch for signs of religious enthusiasm, which are generally equated with extremism. Wearing a long beard or a headscarf, talking to relatives living abroad, or visiting other countries are hence categorized by the Chinese government as extremist behaviour. These categorizations mirror those of the earlier reported “Aksu list”. Together, these government files show how Uyghurs are targeted by Chinese authorities for everyday, lawful behaviour.

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WEEKLY BRIEF, 22 JANUARY 2021

NEWS

U.S. Declares China’s Actions Against Uighurs Constitute “Genocide”
The WUC has welcomed the decision of the former U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, at his last day in office to determine China’s repression of the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples as both “crimes against humanity” and “genocide’’. This makes it the first government to designate the crimes in East Turkistan as genocide. The Secretary of State of the new Biden Administration, Antony Blinken, has said he agrees with the determination by the outgoing Secretary of State that China’s actions against Uyghurs constitute genocide. As designating China’s actions as genocide entails obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and punish the crime, the Biden administration must now take concrete action to that end together with U.S. allies.

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US Solar Companies Rely On Materials From Xinjiang, Where Forced Labor Is Rampant

BuzzFeed.News, 14 January 2020

Below is an article published by BuzzFeed.News. Photo Reuters.

Solar power has built a reputation as a virtuous industry, saving the planet by providing clean energy. But the industry has a dirty underbelly: It relies heavily on Xinjiang — a region in China that has become synonymous with forced labor for Muslim minorities — for key components.

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UK Lags Behind Tackling Forced Labor in Xinjiang

HRW, 16 January 2020

Below is an article published by HRW. Photo HRW.

The United Kingdom and Canada made coordinated announcements this week to help prevent British and Canadian businesses from being complicit in, or profiting from, human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region.

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Uighur campaigners to target 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics sponsors

The Guardian, 18 January 2021

Below is an article published by The Guardian, Photo Reuters.

Campaigners fighting against the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China are to target private companies sponsoring the Beijing Winter Olympics in an attempt to persuade them to use their influence with the Chinese government ahead of the 2022 event.

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WEEKLY BRIEF, 15 JANUARY 2021

NEWS

The U.S., United Kingdom and Canada Will Introduce New Measures in Response to the Grave Human Rights Violations in East Turkistan
The WUC welcomes decisions by the U.S., U.K., and Canadian governments to take new measures to address the grave human rights abuses against Uyghurs in East Turkistan, focused on ending Western companies’ complicity in the use of Uyghur forced labour. On 13 January, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a ban on imports of cotton and tomato products from East Turkistan over forced labour concerns. This follows other import restrictions issued last year. On January 12th, the U.K. Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced new government requirements for British companies to prove that their supply chains are not tainted by Uyghur forced labour. In coordination with the U.K., Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne announced on the same day that Canada is taking similar measures to ensure that products of Uyghur forced labour are not entering Canadian supply chains and making companies complicit in these human rights abuses.

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Huawei patent mentions use of Uighur-spotting tech

BBC, 13 January 2021

Below is an article published by BBC. Photo Reuters

A Huawei patent has been brought to light for a system that identifies people who appear to be of Uighur origin among images of pedestrians.

The filing is one of several of its kind involving leading Chinese technology companies, discovered by a US research company and shared with BBC News.

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Beijing Accelerates Campaign of Ethnic Assimilation

Wall Street Journal, 31 December 2020

Below is an article published by Wall Street Journal. Photo Greg Baker/AFP

To realize the China of his dreams, Xi Jinping wants to meld the nation’s dozens of ethnic groups into a singular national identity.

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