Weekly Brief, 14 January 2022

NEWS

WUC Joins Protest Action Urging Allianz to Drop its Sponsorship of Beijing Olympics
On January 7th, the World Uyghur Congress took part in a protest action organized by Tibet Initiative Deutschland to urge Allianz to drop its sponsorship of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in the face of China’s egregious human rights abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and others. During the action, WUC Program Manager Zumretay Arkin presented Allianz with a change.org petition, which was signed by over 46,000 individuals asking the company to drop its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics.

U.S. Lawmakers Send letter to Airbnb Asking about Activities in East Turkistan and Olympics Sponsorship
On January 7th, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Jim Mc Govern sent a letter to Airbnb asking questions about the company’s business activities in East Turkistan despite the ongoing Uyghur genocide and its commitments to human rights as it sponsors the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The letter from Merkley and McGovern, who are chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, asks Airbnb what actions it is taking to remedy human rights violations in the Uyghur Region, and whether it is engaging with representative groups.

Chinese Olympic Athletes’ Uniforms at High Risk of Being Produced by Uyghur Forced Labour
On January 12th The Telegraph reported that Chinese Olympic athletes will be wearing uniforms manufactured in the Uyghur Region, where they are at high risk of being made by Uyghur forced labour. More than 2,000 sets of uniforms are “Xinjiang’s contribution to the Beijing Winter Olympics”, a Chinese sports official said. Meanwhile, U.S. Olympian Timothy LeDuc has publicly called out China’s human rights atrocities, stating that “we absolutely acknowledge the horrifying things that we’ve seen happening to the Uyghurs. […] these are horrifying human rights abuses that we’re seeing happening.”

Uyghur Detainees In Saudi Arabia At Imminent Risk of Deportation
On January 10th, Human Rights Watch reported that two Uyghurs who have been in detention in Saudi Arabia without charge or trial since 2020, are set to be returned to China. On January 3rd, a Saudi official reportedly told Nurmemet Rozi, one of the detainees, that he “should be mentally prepared to be deported to China in a few days.” Their return would violate international law, as the men would risk torture and other maltreatment upon return. This case reflects a worrying trend where China is increasingly attempting to forcibly return Uyghurs from overseas, such as Uyghur activist Idris Hasan, whose trial is ongoing in Morocco.

Genocide Amendment to Healthcare Bill and Parliamentary Debate on Uyghur Genocide in the U.K.
On January 12th, PoliticsHome reported that Members of British Parliament are planning to back a new amendment to the Health and Care Bill to prevent the sourcing of healthcare equipment from regions of the world where a “serious risk of genocide” is believed to be taking place, the Uyghur Region being a prominent example. Last year the Department for Health and Social Care spent hundreds of millions of pounds procuring medical equipment from firms based in, linked to or operated by Chinese companies suspectedly complicit in Uyghur Forced Labour. Moreover, on the 20th of January, a debate in the UK Parliament will take place asking its government to perform an assessment on a “serious risk” of genocide taking place in East Turkistan, in light of the recent Judgement of the Uyghur Tribunal.