Press Release: World Uyghur Congress announces #WritersSupportUyghurs campaign to coincide with World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) in Chengdu, China
World Uyghur Congress announces #WritersSupportUyghurs campaign to coincide with World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) in Chengdu, China.
Bestselling authors will participate in an online panel discussion and Q&A event on October 17, 2023.
Supporters encouraged to promote campaign on social media with the hashtag #WritersSupportUyghurs
The World Uyghur Congress will host an online panel discussion featuring several award-winning and bestselling authors on Tuesday, October 17th, 2023. The date, one day before the opening of the Worldcon science fiction convention in Chengdu, China, was selected deliberately in order to draw attention to ongoing human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in East Turkistan. The United States, along with 11 parliaments and senates around the world and the independent Uyghur Tribunal have officially recognized the abuses as a genocide and a crime against humanity.
This marks the first year that Worldcon, the largest science fiction convention and the bestower of the prestigious Hugo Awards, will be hosted in China. The decision to hold the event in China has prompted concern from a wide range of science fiction fans, journalists, and authors, many of whom have called for a boycott. Making matters worse, the organization has invited Liu Cixin and Sergei Lukyanenko to attend as “guests of honor.” Both writers have been outspoken in favor of genocidal policies, with Liu saying that the genocidal policies are a justifiable form of “economic development” and Lukyanenko calling for Ukrainian children to be drowned.
“The Chinese government wants to use Worldcon as a sort of Potemkin Village in order to showcase how futuristic and technologically advanced the country has become,” said Andrew Gillsmith, author of the bestselling novel Our Lady of the Artilects and organizer of the #WritersSupportUyghurs campaign. “Meanwhile, they are interning people in concentration camps, forcibly separating children from their families, conscripting Uyghurs into slave labour schemes, and implementing the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated surveillance regime in history. Science fiction writers and fans have a longstanding tradition of standing for human rights. This is in the spirit of that tradition.”
The event in October will broadcast live worldwide and is expected to last 90 minutes. Participants include:
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
Kamran Pasha, a Pakistani-American novelist and screenwriter, whose credits include the Golden Globe-nominated series Sleeper Cell as well as Tron: Uprising, Kings, Nikita, and Roswell, New MexicoThe discussion will focus on how writers and fans can support groups like the Uyghurs and others facing government-sponsored terror and repression.
Abduweli Ayup, is a Western educated linguist and poet who operated Uyghur language schools in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in the northwest part of China. The Uyghur Human Rights Project published his biography in Resisting Chinese Linguistic Imperialism: Abduweli Ayup and the Movement for Uyghur Mother Tongue-Based Education.
“We are grateful for this support from the science fiction and literary communities,” said Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress. “Our goal is not to disrupt Worldcon but to ensure that coverage of the event includes the facts about an ongoing genocide being perpetrated by the host country.”
Gillsmith added that writers, fans, and other members of the science fiction and writing community can demonstrate their support by adding the hashtag “#WritersSupportUyghurs” to their social media profiles in the weeks leading up to Worldcon.
Those interested can register for the event and learn more at:
About the World Uyghur Congress
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkistan and abroad.
The WUC was established on 16 April 2004 in Munich, Germany, after the East Turkistan National Congress and the World Uyghur Youth Congress merged into one united organization. The main objective of WUC is to promote the right of the Uyghur people to use peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to determine the political future of East Turkistan.
About Andrew Gillsmith
Andrew Gillsmith is a science fiction writer living in St. Louis, Missouri.
Gillsmith grew up in the Golden Age of Cyberpunk. Fittingly, his first job out of school was delivering mail for Jeff Bezos when he was still selling books via Listserv. Since then, he’s worked in a number of interesting roles, including head of customer experience for the Kentucky Derby, leader of a proposed hyperloop project in the United States, head of data analysis for a healthcare company, and SVP of sales for a digital marketing agency. He currently works in publisher development in the programmatic advertising space.
Chair, Women’s Committee
World Uyghur Congress