CONFERENCE REPORT The Uyghur Crisis: China’s Laboratory for Rights Abuses

World Uyghur Congress, 01 December 2019

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), in cooperation with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), held a successful media training workshop for Uyghur activists and a day-long conference entitled ‘The Uyghur Crisis: China’s Laboratory for Rights Abuses’ in Brussels, Belgium.

It was the aim of this event to bring together various experts with human rights groups, researchers, policy-makers, and Uyghur leaders to discuss the issue of the region of East Turkistan (and the Uyghur people) used as a laboratory for Chinese policy and technological development.

By hosting this conference in the heart of the European Union, the WUC and its partners have sought to shine a light on the dehumanizing policies and practices of the Chinese authorities and to mobilize greater awareness and a willingness to take concrete action in the EU. This conference was organized into thematic four panels focused on detailing the situation on the ground, providing concrete evidence for organ harvesting and focusing on providing concrete recommendations for further action.

The conference began with an introductory session held in the European Parliament and hosted by Member of the European Parliament Raphael Glucksmann from the S&D political group, with the remaining three panels being held at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). 

The remaining three panels of the conference were held at the ULB campus in Brussels and were focused on the use of organ harvesting and repressive security and surveillance technologies, as well as their implications for the EU and other states. Panelists were encouraged to give concrete, action-orientated recommendations on what was needed to effectively address and counter these serious human rights violations.

Panel 1: Opening Session at the European Parliament
The conference began with an opening session held in the European Parliament and hosted by Member of the European Parliament Raphael Glucksmann from the S&D political group. This first panel sought to introduce and raise further awareness of the current crisis in East Turkistan in the European Parliament and among European decision-makers.

Panel 2: Organ Harvesting in East Turkistan: Summary of Evidence
The second panel of this conference was held at second location, at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). In order to lay out the concrete evidence of organ harvesting and associated abuses in China, this panel assembled a number of key experts working on this topic to present their findings and credible evidence about the scale and nature of organ harvesting in China and the culpability of the Chinese government.

Panel 3: International Efforts to Combat Organ Harvesting
This third panel of the conference built on the contents of the previous discussions to focus on concrete measures to address and combat organ harvesting in East Turkistan and the rest of China. Panelists presented ongoing efforts and recommendations of further steps to take to end transplant in China. This focused on a variety of approaches including international coalition building and advocacy efforts, legal initiatives and medical approaches.

Panel 4: Security and Surveillance in East Turkistan, an International Security Threat
This section focused on the international dimension and implications of the use and testing of repressive security and surveillance technology on the Uyghur people. Dystopian technology tested on the Uyghur people by Chinese companies and the Chinese government is now being sold and exported to governments around the world, threatening international security and human rights globally. This section aimed to show what the current situation in East Turkistan is, along with case studies of the impacts it is already having on the rights and freedoms of individuals in other countries.

The report can be read in full here.