PRESS RELEASE: “70 Years of Repression by China is Enough, Human Rights and Freedom Now!” Peaceful March for Human Rights in China on October 1st in Brussels, Belgium
Joint press release
World Uyghur Congress
International Campaign for Tibet
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation
Belgian Uyghur Association
Tibetan Community of Belgium
Brussels, 24 September 2019 – On October 1st, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the World Uyghur Congress, the International Campaign for Tibet, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation, the Belgian Uyghur Association and the Tibetan Community in Belgium are organizing a joint march and demonstration in Brussels to call for an end to China’s complete lack of respect for human rights.
They will be joined by representatives from Hong Kong, and human rights activists to collectively honor the victims of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s repression over the 70 years it has ruled China and demand that the basic rights and freedoms of all people in China be respected.
While the Chinese government has pointed to its economic growth as vindication for the CCP’s legacy over the past 70 years, the rights and freedoms for Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongols, as well as for the Chinese people themselves, have deteriorated.
“The very existence of the Uyghurs as a distinct people is under critical threat as 1-3 million innocent Uyghurs are being detained in internment camps and our culture, language, religion and ethnic identity is being eroded by the Chinese government,” said WUC President Dolkun Isa. “While Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongols, Hong Kongers, Chinese Christians and human rights lawyers and activists are all bearing the brunt of the CCP’s violent repression, what is happening in China will spread and already is having substantial negative impacts on our international community, to our global security and to the future of our international institutions.”
“Instead of its relentless assaults against the culture, religion and identity of Tibetans, China should acknowledge the problem in Tibet and respond to the Dalai Lama’s initiative for a negotiated settlement that respects the Tibetan people’s fundamental rights and freedoms,” said Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director at the International Campaign for Tibet. “China must allow Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongols and others to practice their religion freely and to respect cultural diversity, which does not represent a threat, but, on the contrary, it is a source of richness for China.”
“2019 marks not only the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and the brutal repression that followed, but also the 70th Anniversary of the invasion of Tibet and the 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. While China is undoubtedly more prosperous today than it was 70 years ago, these anniversaries remind us that the use of violent suppression remains at the very heart of the Communist Party’s rule,” said UNPO’s General Secretary Ralph Bunche. “The policy of ‘constructive engagement’ has miserably failed to bring about a positive change to its human rights record. We are pleased that the U.S. Congress is beginning to take action with the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and potentially with the newly-introduced Tibetan Policy and Support Act. We need to see those acts forcefully implemented and to see an acquiescent Europe following this example if the people, cultures and traditions of Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia are to have any chance of genuine survival.”
The Chinese crackdown on human rights and freedoms requires a strong and principled response from the EU and the international community to hold the Chinese government accountable for its actions. Human rights issues should become a top priority for the new EU leadership in its relations with China and must be systematically be raised at the highest political level.
Below is the programme of the demonstration:
11h: Gathering at Square de Meeûs, close to the European Parliament;
12h: Minute of silence in remembrance of all the victims of Chinese repression over the past 70 years and in solidarity with all those who are currently suffering due to the actions of the Chinese government;
12h – 12h30: Speeches from Members of the European Parliament;
12h30: Start of the peaceful march from Square de Meeûs to Schuman Roundabout;
13h-15h: Static demonstration at Schuman roundabout next to the European Union institutions.
Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director, International Campaign for Tibet
+ 32 (0)2 609 44 10
Ryan Barry, Project Coordinator & Researcher, World Uyghur Congress
+32 (0)4 84 17 43 84
Lucia Parrucci, Advocacy & Training Coordinator, UNPO
+32 (0)4 83 71 66 41
Yashar Yalkun, President, Belgium Uyghur Association
Phurbu Dhondup, President, Tibetan Community in Belgium