China | We remember the victims of enforced disappearances

Join WUC and our partners this Friday, 30 August 2019, to commemorate the International Day against Enforced Disappearance and make visible those who have been disappeared by Chinese authorities.

On the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances (30 August) a group of human rights NGOs including WUC is raising the alarm on enforced disappearances in China, a country that has for way too long and in total impunity, used that practice to silence any human rights defenders, opponents and other members of civil society.

In the context of a state crackdown on Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic Muslim groups in China, Adil Mijit, a 55-year-old famous Uyghur comedian, was disappeared in Ururmqi, the capital city of the Uyghur region in November last year.

Mijit’s case is remarkable because of his connections with the Chinese government as his detention signals the sign say, no one is safe, even when you are a performer with a state troupe and employee of the government for almost 35 years.

Mijit and his family believed his longtime government connections would protect him, but his passport was seized by officials when he returned to China from visiting his family in Turkey in June 2017. The family have urged him to stay with them in Turkey. Mijit insisted on returning to the Uyghur region and was disappeared in early November in 2018.

Adil Mijit’s arrest comes as the Chinese authorities’ deliberate policy of targeting Uyghur cultural leaders: writers, academics and artists.

Therefore, on the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30), WUC jointly with Safeguard Defenders, the International Service for Human Rights, the Tibet Network and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, will hold a campaign on enforced disappearances on China, giving voice to the families of the disappeared, under the hashtag #StopDisappearances.

Through outreach, social media and direct advocacy, we want to make sure that none of the efforts of the Chinese government to target, intimidate and retaliate with enforced disappearance will go unchecked, and that journalists, academics, politicians and international organisations have both the means and the moral imperative to speak out. 

To silence those with views different from those of the Party, and to discourage those who defend human rights, Chinese authorities have developed a cruel and coherent system of ‘legalised’ disappearance. This framework ranges from internment camps in East Turkistan; incommunicado detention under ‘Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location’ (RSDL); the newly launched National Supervision Commission and its liuzhi system; to the elimination of due process guarantees against prolonged pre-trial detention, lack of access to counsel, and forced confessions; to the so-called ‘non-release release’, where those who have served a prison sentence – often unjustly or arbitrarily – are released into informal custody, house arrest, or worse.

Today, we call on the Chinese government to stop all forms of enforced disappearance. We urge all States to ensure that victims of enforced disappearance by the Chinese state, whether within the People’s Republic of China or elsewhere, are protected; can seek remedy; and can exercise their right to know the truth about the status of their loved ones.

Want to know more about enforced disappearances and the campaign?

  • Read our joint statement in English or in Chinese.
  • Download our explainer, a short publication that explains how to approach the UN system in cases of enforced disappearances in English or in Chinese.
  • Join the campaign by downloading our visuals and reposting them on social media. 

Check out these videos, where relatives of the disappeared tell the stories of their loved ones and the impact of disappearances on themselves and their families.