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PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Commemorates 14th Anniversary of Urumchi Massacre

PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Commemorates 14th Anniversary of Urumchi Massacre

Press Release – For immediate Release
05 July 2023
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) commemorates the victims of the 2009 Urumchi massacre. On July 5, 2009 thousands of Uyghurs took the streets and marched towards the People’s square in central Urumchi to protest the Chinese government’s handling of the Shaoguan incident in which several Uyghurs were killed by a mob of Chinese factory workers during a dispute.

“Every July 5th is a dark reminder of the brutality Uyghurs face from the Chinese authorities. The 2009 Urumchi Massacre stands as one of the darkest episodes in the history of the Uyghur people”, said WUC President Dolkun Isa. 

The complete disregard for Uyghur lives and the systematic discrimination faced by the Uyghur people resulted in Uyghurs peacefully protesting in Urumchi to demand equal treatment and for their rights and freedoms to be respected. The protests were quickly cracked down upon by force from the Chinese authorities, as hundreds of Chinese police with shields, rifles, and clubs were already in position and moved to disperse and arrest the protesters before they reached the People’s Square. The heavy-handed response resulted in unrest among the protesters, further escalating the situation and resulting in a further brutal crackdown from the Chinese authorities against the protesters.

From July 5-7 2009, thousands of Uyghurs were killed, disappeared or injured by the hands of Chinese police forces. Following the incident, the regional government imposed a communications blackout that lasted for months and prevented the flow of information. The Chinese government crack-down on peaceful protests, proved to be a pivotal turning point in the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur people, as the repression would only intensify in the years that followed, leading up to the current genocide. 

In the aftermath of these terrible events, the Chinese government’s actions were never scrutinised by the international community nor subjected to any independent investigation. The lack of action paved the way for the Chinese government to progressively enact policies that have allowed the ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide in East Turkistan. By now 11 national parliaments or senates, including the European Parliament have recognized the atrocities committed by the CCP as genocide and/or crimes against humanity, and the independent Uyghur Tribunal’s judgment of 2021 further ruled that a genocide is taking place. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirms the strong evidence of atrocities against Uyghurs, which “may amount to international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”.

“The International community must take meaningful steps to end the Uyghur genocide. The repressions faced by Uyghurs will continue to escalate without clear actions and condemnation from world leaders.” said WUC President Dolkun Isa.