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Press Release: World Uyghur Congress Urges Belgium to Raise Uyghur Genocide

Press Release: World Uyghur Congress Urges Belgium to Raise Uyghur Genocide

Press Release – For immediate Release
11 January 2024
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

This week Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib embarked on a trip to China. Their agenda includes participating in various meetings alongside CEOs of major Belgian companies and attending the inauguration of the new Belgian Embassy building in Beijing. Additionally, they are scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang on Friday, with the primary focus of their visit being the establishment of bilateral relations between the two countries. Notably, this marks the first visit by a head of the Belgian government since 2016.

“The Uyghur genocide underscores the importance of a critical engagement with Chinese leaders. Belgium should be a leading European country, which strongly confronts the Chinese government on its human rights abuses, and does not continue business as usual,” stated World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa. 

The World Uyghur Congress is urging the Belgian leadership to take a firm stance on Uyghur human rights, during their meeting with Xi Jinping, particularly ahead of China’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review, on January 23, in Geneva. Given that Belgium currently holds the EU Council Presidency until June, it is crucial to prioritise discussions on Uyghur forced labour, China’s transnational repression, and the country’s challenges to the global rule of law and democracy. This becomes especially relevant as the EU is deciding on its regulation to prohibit products manufactured with forced labour from entering the EU market, emphasising the need for companies to ensure their supply chains are free from forced labour. Without any measures in place, the EU is likely to become the dumping ground for Uyghur forced labour-produced fashion. The Belgian premier is furthermore set to sign a memorandum of understanding on green energy investments. Belgium should evaluate investing in a country that forces Uyghurs to produce 35% of the world’s polysilicon and 32% of global metallurgical-grade silicon, both used in producing solar panels.

Moreover, Belgium cannot conduct business as usual amidst the serious human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Hongkongers and the military tensions in the vicinity of Taiwan. In 2021, the Belgian Parliament officially declared that Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples are at serious risk of genocide. The Belgian government needs to remain mindful of this declaration and carefully consider its implications when engaging with Chinese leaders. Furthermore, the serious threat posed by Chinese transnational repression demands heightened attention. The Chinese government is conducting the most “sophisticated, global, and comprehensive campaign of transnational repression in the world” and thus significantly infringes on the sovereignty of democratic nations, while also violating the fundamental rights of citizens. This constitutes a global danger to democratic values, the rule of law, and state security. Particularly noteworthy are recent revelations about Frank Creyelman, a member of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, who reportedly received funds from a Chinese spy to influence Belgian and European politics. In light of these revelations, the Belgian government must adopt a firm stance and take decisive actions to safeguard democratic processes.

The World Uyghur Congress urges Belgium to impose sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the Uyghur genocide and reevaluate and revoke their extradition treaty with China.