PRESS RELEASE: 70 Years of the People’s Republic of China, 70 Years of Repression
On October 1st, China will mark 70 years since its founding with a triumphant celebration of its ostensible progress, while at the same time implementing policies in the Uyghur region not seen since the Cultural Revolution. The international community must look closely to separate the rhetoric from the reality on the ground in 2019.
The mass arbitrary detention of up to three million in camps, a security and surveillance apparatus tracking nearly all Uyghurs in the country, and a campaign to eradicate the Uyghur identity itself are laughably out of step with what most are hearing from Beijing.
“As a Uyghur who’s experienced years of repression in and outside the country, it’s impossible to take seriously China’s claims that 70 years have only brought more and more shared prosperity. Just ask a Uyghur family in Kashgar or Hotan what they think about that,” said WUC President Dolkun Isa.
Isa continued, “While China’s repressive policies inside the country are clear up until now, it will be the job of the international community to resist the spread of these approaches to the rest of the world in the coming years and decades.”
China continues to point to development as a vindication for its failure to respect basic rights, but it is Uyghurs who continue to bear the brunt. The Uyghur region has seen tremendous growth in recent years, but it has been far from equitable. Economic discrimination remains a significant barrier for entry into the job market and more lucrative fields of employment are effectively off limits to Uyghurs.
During its 70 years of Communist rule, China has proven time and again that the regime will stop at nothing to silence dissent and satisfy its general paranoia of different cultures and ways of life. The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre and the 10th anniversary of the Urumqi massacre, which were both also marked in 2019, are two strong cases in point.
It is time for the international community to take action against the unbridled repression and the total state of surveillance imposed by the Chinese government on its people, and on the Uyghur community in particular.
The Chinese crackdown 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 raised at the highest political level.
In 70 years, much has changed in China, but the Uyghur population has not only been purposely left behind, but systematically discriminated against throughout. If we don’t immediately respond and call for equitable treatment, the next 70 years will be similarly bleak.