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Press Release – For immediate release
19 May 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is releasing its 2020 annual report on the human rights situation in East Turkistan covering the events of 2020. The report presents a detailed review of China’s egregious crimes against the Uyghurs and other Turkic people and provides an in-depth analysis of the most pressing issues facing Uyghurs in East Turkistan, as well as in the diaspora.

“Uyghurs have been facing the most serious crimes in the past few years, which amount to genocide. It’s currently one of the most urgent human rights crises in the world,” said WUC President, Dolkun Isa. “This report is important because it gives a comprehensive overview of the human rights violations in East Turkistan, but it also makes key recommendations to both the Chinese government and the international community.”

The year 2020 has been notable as the features of the Chinese crackdown in East Turkistan became increasingly apparent to the world at large. These features include systematic destruction of Uyghur culture and religion, forced sterilizations, abortions, and other birth prevention measures, State-corporate nexus in the exploitation of Uyghur forced labour, and large-scale use of digital surveillance and big data, so much so that the Uyghur genocide
can safely be described as the first technology-enabled genocide.

During much of 2020, the Chinese government maintained its heavy-handed policies in the region under the excuse of preventing the Covid-19 pandemic. Governmental authorities imposed sudden and arbitrary lockdowns, sprayed Uyghurs with corrosive chemicals, created artificial food shortages, and forced Uyghurs to ingest dubious medicines. Furthermore, Uyghur forced labour was being utilized to produce safety equipment and disposable masks for the rest of the world.

In spite of the global pledge to “never again” allow the horrors of the Holocaust to be repeated, we witness the Chinese government’s continued development and expansion of the concentration camp system in East Turkistan. Survivors have described the goal of the Chinese Communist Party to be the destruction of every Uyghur through surveillance, mass
arbitrary internment, indoctrination, dehumanization, sterilization, torture, and rapes in the camps.

This year has further seen the pillage of precious cultural heritage in East Turkistan. Reports have indicated that over two-thirds of the region’s mosques have been affected and about half of the protected cultural sites have been damaged or destroyed. The Uyghur language and religious practices are also at heightened risk of disappearance as they have been prohibited in large parts of East Turkistan.

In the face of these developments, we also witnessed brave solidarity displayed by the Uyghur diaspora in support of their friends and families back home. There were large-scale advocacy and awareness-raising efforts all over the world for the enforced disappearances and grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Chinese State in East Turkistan.

Finally and most importantly, we saw the international community including States, international organizations, and civil society actors take a firm stand against the Chinese government by increasingly speaking out against the Uyghur genocide and imposing concrete sanctions and restrictions on Chinese individuals and entities. All major nations
including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Japan, and some Muslim-majority countries have raised their voice against the plight of the Uyghurs and their continued genocide.

The aim of this annual report has been to bring renewed attention to the rapid escalation of human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs in East Turkistan. This report also serves as a useful and reliable summary of the crimes against humanity and genocide carried out by the Chinese government. Our hope has been to
highlight the most pressing issues of the past four years, and situate them with a broader context of Chinese policy.

The report can be read and downloaded in full here.