PRESS RELEASE: China Must Allow German Green Party Member Access

Press Release – For immediate release
5 August 2019
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) urges China to respect the decision of the German Bundestag to send Green Party member Margarete Bause with a Committee delegation to China this month. This week, China indicated that the Bundestag’s Digital Agenda Committee as well as the Human Rights Committee, which Ms. Bause is also a member of, would not be allowed access as long as she remains on the delegation list.

Ms. Bause has remained a steadfast supporter of the Uyghur community in Germany and frequently speaks on the issue, including during a debate in the Bundestag in November 2018. The Digital Agenda Committee was set to visit China in August to address issues surrounding artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology. Ms. Bause, who has been pressured by China to drop her support for Uyghurs on several occasions, was to take the place of one of her colleagues during this visit.

Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa, said in response to the news, “If China continues to make unverifiable claims about conditions for Uyghurs, they have a corresponding obligation to allow international observers to verify this. Ms. Bause’s rejection speaks volumes about China’s intention to continue to deceive the international community, as it has done for years.”

The visit of the Human Rights Committee is scheduled to take place in September and includes visits to Beijing, East Turkistan and Tibet. The German Bundestag also called on the Chinese government through their Embassy to accept the composition of the delegations as a “self-determined concern of the Bundestag”.

Against the backdrop of the July 30, 2019 statement by the Uyghur region’s governor Shohrat Zakir that the majority of inmates had been released from camps, it would be of utmost importance for observers to verify these claims by means of unconditional access. Furthermore, delegation members must be free to speak privately to Uyghurs in the region with guarantees against reprisals.

Besides the camps, it is also crucial for the German delegations to take note of and address with their Chinese hosts the fact that East Turkistan remains one of the most highly controlled regions in the world. Ubiquitous high-definition CCTV cameras and police checkpoints with full body and iris scanners vacuum up Uyghurs’ personal data.

Authorities collected biometrics in 2016, including DNA samples, finger prints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region between 12 and 65, which is entered into centralized, searchable databases, and coupled with data on individuals collected from police on the ground in order to develop detailed individual profiles.

Restrictions on religious practice and expression, the use of the Uyghur language, cultural activities, basic expression and the continued destruction of religious and cultural sites make up only a fraction of the dense mosaic of repression that persists.

We are therefore calling on the Chinese government to respect the freely chosen composition of the German Parliamentary delegations and to grant them access to the country.

In addition, we are calling on the German Bundestag to ensure that Ms. Bause is able to attend alongside each Committee or the trips should be cancelled.