Peaceful March for Human Rights on the 70th Anniversary of PRC
World Uyghur Congress, 4 October, 2019
WUC – October 1st 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. While China organized big celebrations to mark this day, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) together with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), the Belgian Uyghur Association and the Tibetan Community in Belgium, organized a joint march and demonstration in Brussels to call for an end to the unprecedented human rights violations in China.
The starting point was at Square de Meeûs where people gathered around and a minute of silence was held in commemoration of the victims of 70 years of Chinese repression and to stand in solidarity with the current victims of an authoritarian regime. It was followed by the introduction of some MEPs by UNPO’s EU Representative Lucia Parrucci. The speakers were MEPs Phil Bennion, Molly Scott Cato, Martin Harwood, Mikuláš Peksa, Raphael Glucksman, as well as Belgian MP Cogolati and Henri Malosse, 30th President of the EU Economic and Social Committee (EESC). They urged the international community, but especially the European Parliament to be more proactive in their approach to denounce China’s repressive ways.
Through the streets of Brussels’ European quarters, the peaceful march of over 700 protesters, under chants for freedom for Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kong, reached the Schuman roundabout, where the demonstration concluded with a final rally in front of the European Commission and the European External Action Services. Here, activists and scholars addressed the demonstrators.
WUC President Dolkun Isa called on the international community, particularly the European Union, to keep pressuring China on the human rights situation in East Turkistan, where he expressed his deep disappointment at the collective inaction of the Muslim World, despite China calling Islam an ideological illness which needs to be eradicated.
President of the Belgium Uyghur Association, Yashar Yalkun, reminded the audience of China’s horrible human rights atrocities occurring in and outside detention camps in East Turkistan, where 1-3 million Uyghurs are being held arbitrarily and are being subjected to inhumane treatment.
Vincent Metten, Policy Director for the International Campaign for Tibet Europe, spoke out against China’s paranoid fear of cultural diversity, demanding the Chinese government to allow all minorities to freely practice their religions and cultural traditions.
Hong Kong student activist Ray Wong, who recently received political asylum in Germany, reiterated the Hong Kongers’ conviction to persistently stand up for their basic rights and resist China’s attempts at oppressing the Hong Kong people’s freedoms. He expressed solidarity with the Uyghurs and Tibetans, and that all three communities have to stand together against China’s repression.
Vanessa Frangville, scholar from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, asked the European policy makers and public to show solidarity with the human rights struggle of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers. She also expressed concern about the high number of Uyghur academics that are in detention.
The joint demonstration brought together many people affected by the repressive actions and human rights violations of the Chinese government in a spirit of solidarity to demand human rights and freedom in China now.
Several media were present to cover the event, interviewing the people in the Uyghur diaspora. The complete list of media coverage is listed down below.